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More for the Mission Kick-Off

Thanks to everyone who attended the More for the Mission Reception yesterday. It was great sharing our project with you and talking to people who are excited to get involved. 

More for the Mission reception setup.

More for the Mission Event Today

Today will mark the start of the More for the Mission campaign, where we extend our project from building and infrastructure changes into engagement of staff, visitors, and members.  Our campaign will promote the idea that our sustainability efforts saves money that can go towards achieving our institutional mission.  Today's event for MHS staff will start at the 2pm Staff Forum, where a short presentation will introduce the project.  At 3pm, a reception outside the 3M Auditorium will provide more information, as well as some treats and a surprise!  MHS Green Team members will be at the reception to continue the conversations on sustainability and the More for the Mission campaign. 

Hope to see all MHS staff there today!

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.

International Water Day

The United Nations has declared the 22nd of March as national "World Water Day." The aim of this event is to promote general awareness of the fresh water conservation movement as well as present some of the challenges of a growing human population competing for limited fresh water resources. In this weeks post I will unpack some of issues surrounding the water crisis.  http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/

Green Space

In this week's post I will discuss the importance of green space for urban dwellers. On the 31st of October 2011 the world population exceeded 7 billion. As our world becomes more populous, inhabitable space is becoming more scarce. With this comes the challenge to best utilize the existing space. An interesting dichotomy occurs as the amount of available space shrinks per person, particularly in urban settings,while the need for open green space still exists. The World Health Organization has set a suggested minimum of 9 m2 of green space per person, about the size of an 8x12 foot room. I argue that maintaining this minimum is not only an environmental issue but also an issue of social justice.

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.