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New Book Features Minnesota Historical Society’s Sustainability Program

This past month, the MNHS Sustainability program was featured in Environmental Sustainability at Historic Sites and Museums by Sarah Sutton.  Shengyin Xu and Matt Hill contributed to the mini-case study titled “Minnesota Historical Society, Dynamic Data and Real-Time Sustainability.”  The piece describes the Society’s use of data and metrics for both decision-making and communication and highlights the importance of sustainability for history organizations.  

Some excerpts from the book:


Sharing Economy Gaining Momentum

 

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In an increasingly consumptive world, the sharing economy and collaborative consumption are gaining momentum as ways to live more sustainably.  Also known as peer-to-peer marketplaces, collaborative consumption hinges on networks established to facilitate goods, skills, and services trading amongst neighbors.  Touted as a way to save money, live more sustainably, and strengthen community bonds, these sharing networks are quickly gaining popularity.  


Fossil Free and Fossil Fuel Divestment

Due to increased public awareness and pressure on natural resources, sustainability initiatives are slowly evolving into mainstream priorities for countless institutions, organizations, and even governments.  Groups have adopted sustainability practices, invested in new technologies, and integrated them into their everyday operations.  Recycling bins, energy efficient light fixtures, and efficient building plans are all on the way up.


Five Green New Year's Resolutions for 2015

Even though the ball hasn’t been dropped and the champagne as yet to be popped, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions.  While most resolutions focus on health, relationships, and even finances, choosing “green” resolutions may help both you and the rest of the world across the board.  As we head into 2015, consider the small changes you can make that will lead to a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious year.  Here are five of my favorite resolution ideas:


Christmas Tree Disposal

As the holiday season comes to a close, remember to take the sustainable and proper measures to recycle your Christmas tree.  In Minnesota, it is illegal to put your real Christmas tree or wreath in the garbage.  Thankfully, there are several convenient options for tree, wreath, and yard waste disposal.  While every city and county differs a little, most offer some sort of disposal service.


Campaign Survey Results

Thank you to all who responded to the Go Blue Campaign survey.  Evaluation is a key component to any project or event.  With your feedback, we intend to enhance our upcoming sustainability campaigns and take the next steps forward.  Here are some of the main findings from the survey.


White Bear Lake settlement to divert water from Mississippi River

A settlement was reached in the legal battle between two White Bear Lake groups and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over plummeting lake water levels.  The settlement centers on a plan to pump water from the Mississippi River to 13 Northern Twin Cities suburbs in order to alleviate groundwater stress and hopefully replenish the shrinking White Bear Lake.


USGS Drought Tool

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently released a data visualization tool that provides a new and frightening look at California’s current drought.  This tool, using open source data and software, graphically displays the effect of drought on rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs in California.  

                                             


California Drought Worst in 1,200 Years

According to a recent study published by the American Geophysical Union, California is currently experiencing the worst drought in the past 1,200 years

                                            


Water Conservation Tips

We now head into the Challenge Week of the Sustainable Water Use Challenge.  This week, choose one day and try to limit your water use.  In what areas can you cut back?  Is it difficult to reduce your water use?

While installing low-flow or efficient fixtures are tremendous ways to reduce your water use, there are some simple steps you can take first.