May is National Bike Month


Why Volunteer?

Earth Day, Looking Back to Move Forward

The first Earth Day in the U.S. was April 22, 1970. Founded by the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, the day was inspired by the student anti-war movement. With a national coordinator and 85 staff members, Nelson was able to create a moment where 20 million Americans “took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies” (Earth Day Network). As the day took hold in the U.S., in 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people around the world in 141 countries and “lifting environmental issues onto [the] world stage” (Earth Day Network).

Spotlight Film: Urban Roots

The Complications of Recycling

The importance of recycling is one of the many concepts being promoted as a strategy to green your life. With recycling programs and recycled materials being promoted so frequently, recycling should be easy, right? Not only is recycling more complicated than you may think, it requires time to do it right. This blog post will help illustrate that recycling is not as straightforward as it could be here in Minnesota, and give a look into a more ideal system in Philadelphia.

Earth Hour, Turn off the Lights

Turn off the lights for an hour during Earth Hour on Saturday, March 31st 2012 from 8:30pm - 9:30pm. Earth Hour is an event started by the World Wildlife Foundation. Earth Hour has become a way for cities to show their commitment to addressing climate change, symbolizing not only local change, but global change as well. (Earth Hour, 2012).

Water Conservation

The U.S. Geological Survey indicates that only 1% of the water on Earth is freshwater available for human use (USGS, 2011).  Fresh water is used for a variety of activities, ranging from safe drinking water to irrigation for crops, filling your toilets, and keeping your yard green.  Water is such an important part of everyday life that it is worth it to take a look at how much water you consume and what you can do to reduce that amount as well as the amount of water that you waste.

Karen Washington, Urban Farmer

With February coming to a close, it is important to look back on Black History Month and forward to women’s history month and recognize some contributors to sustainable principles.

Karen Washington is an urban farmer from the Bronx. An urban farmer is someone who grows farms in an urban setting, often in small vacant lots, leftover spaces between buildings, or even rooftops. To deal with the difficult terrain, urban farmers often use raised planters or containers. The main goal is to not only grow food in urban areas, but also to increase access to healthy food to their communities. This is particularly difficult in low socio-economic communities, where there may be a lack of grocery stores, or a lack of affordable, healthy foods. These urban farms fill many needs, such as providing fresh food, as well as creating beautiful green spaces. Many of these urban food movements strive to bring community members together towards the goals of making their neighborhoods safer, more beautiful, and healthier.

2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

Two thousand twelve has been declared as “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All,” by the United Nations. The United Nations see this declaration as a opportunity to raise awareness of global energy issues and to provide a platform for existing and planned initiatives, “energy is an opportunity. It transforms economies. And our planet” (United Nations Foundation, 2011). As part of this initiative the UN has launched what they are calling an ‘Energy Access Practitioner Network.’ The aim of this network is to “bring together practitioners from the private sector and civil society working on the delivery of energy services and solutions,” (United Nations Foundation, 2011). The hope is that by bringing together these practitioners and providing a global network that this International Year will truly include a global audience who are focused in meeting the three goals that were put forth as part of the International Year declaration.

The United Nations hopes to have succeeded in meeting the following three goals by 2030:
- Ensure universal access to modern energy services
- Reduce global energy intensity by 40%
- Increase renewable energy use globally by 30%
(Ki-moon, 2011)

Walk, Bike, Drive, Ride Transportation Planning For All Uses

Transportation is an important part of living sustainably. The media often promotes electric cars and alternative fuel sources as a solution to transportation problems. However cars are not the only way that people and goods get around. Complete Streets legislation helps to address the lack of focus on other transportation methods.

(Image: Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition)