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Green Minnesota

Help Protect Minnesota's Environment

Green Minnesota: two words that I think most people would agree go well together. However, Minnesota is a state, like all others, that needs to fight to maintain and increase our green reputation.

Green Minnesota

More than 20 years ago our family decided to learn to live more simply. We bought a small farm that had, for years, been farmed organically. Our children learned to help us grow our own food, plant an orchard, raise our meat and milk animals and, as much as possible, to be self-sustaining.

We adopted the philospohy that has now become the mantra for a clean enviromnent: "use it up, wear it out, or do without."

A sustainable future for Minnesota can only be achieved by reducing, reusing, and recycling in all of our activities.

Some goals that will lead to an ever more green Minnesota:

  • Recycle whatever can be recycled and divert as much as possible from the waste stream.
  • Provide educational resources to communities about recycling and its benefit to the environment.
  • Steward Minnesota, and global, resources by promoting sustainable choices in all private and public activities and operations.

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But the only possible guarantee of the future is responsible behavior in the present. ~Wendell Berry, “Living in the Future,”

Doing Your Part to Keep Minnesota Green

Minnesotans are becoming increasingly aware of what can be done to help improve the environment. There are simple ways that every Minnesota visitor and resident can help. These small changes will not only help the environment but will also help your budget in some cases.

  • One of the easiest things to do is change your light bulbs. There are many new styles of light bulbs that are energy saving. They are a bit more expensive to start with, but can save quite a bit of money in the long run. Compact fluorescent lamp can save around $30 over the life of the light bulb. That not only saves you money, but also lowers the total amount of power being used in our country if everyone switches. That will help reduce the natural resources needed to produce our electric energy.
  • Carpooling is one of the best ways to help the environment. By sharing rides as much as possible, you save a good bit of money, especially with the ever-rising cost of gas. Not only that, it reduces the amount of emissions, which makes the air cleaner for everyone. It also helps cut down on the amount of wear and tear on vehicles, helping them last longer.
  • Recycling is another easy way to help the environment. It is fairly easy to set up a system in your own home to organize the recycling. Using either boxes or trashcans you can organize things that might otherwise end up in the trash. If you have a recycling center nearby, you might even be able to make some extra cash. Some towns provide recycling pick up with the trash, if it's sorted separately from the trash. If each family member does their part to make sure their used items end up in the right container, it helps keep down the clutter. Purchasing recycled products is also a way to help the environment. It reduces the amount of things that need to be disposed of in landfills.
  • Volunteering to help with other projects is also a way for your family to help with the environment. Many schools are involved in clean up projects, so it's not hard to find a way to get involved. Some may adopted a park to help clean up. Others may change an empty lot into a useful space, maybe a garden or a playground.
  • If your family looks at the ways they can save, you can make it a team effort. Remind each other to put that can in the recycle bin instead of the trash. Be sure to turn the water off. Turn off lights any time you're not using it. Use lower wattage equipment. Add better insulation to the house and install better windows. All these little things can add up to a lot of savings, for you and the world.

"Increases in waste generation since 1960 have historically been correlated with increased economic activity as measured by gross domestic product and personal consumption expenditures. During time of increased economic activity consumers continue to purchase and discard goods at a rate that leads to constant waste growth. Estimates show that for every pound of product purchased by a consumer, many more pounds of waste are generated by the industrial process used to make that product." ~Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, 1999 The Solid Waste Policy Report

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