Minneapolis releases results of environmental work
In time for Earth Day, the City of Minneapolis released its new Greenprint, which shows the year’s successes and challenges in its environmental work supporting a healthy, livable and sustainable Minneapolis. Successes in 2011 include more healthy food in the homes of lower-income residents and a reduction in climate change pollution. Challenges include pests threatening ash trees and Minnesota’s waterways. The Greenprint report, a subsection of the City’s Sustainability Indicators, lays out measurable environmental sustainability goals and annually tracks the City’s progress toward meeting them. Minneapolis sustainability indicators, data and policies are helping systematically make Minneapolis a cleaner, healthier, more efficient city.
The seventh annual Greenprint has a new online format for easier access, more in-depth reporting and more frequent updates. Key results include:
Climate change pollution decreased more than 12 percent between 2006 and 2010 thanks to lower natural gas use, Xcel Energy’s cleaner electricity sources and fewer flights and better fuel economy of jets from the airport.
Healthy food became easier to access with expanded food assistance and Market Bucks (coupons for free produce) available at the West Broadway Outdoor Market, Brian Coyle and Augsburg farmers markets in 2011. Midtown Farmers Market, Minneapolis Farmers Market and Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market also continued to accept food assistance. Between May 2010 and November 2011, the markets made a combined total of more than $90,000 in food assistance sales and Market Bucks redemptions, showing that healthy food is making it into lower-income households and federal food support has improved healthy foods and the local economy.
With Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, the City completed a two-year, $4 million federally funded green jobs training and job placement project. Over its two years, Renewable Energy Networks Empowering Workers (RENEW) trained 585 workers in green credentialing programs in manufacturing, construction, building systems, and renewable energy, and placed more than 300 of them in jobs.
A City-sponsored energy efficiency program has served more than 4,000 Minneapolis homes and created or retained more than 26 permanent jobs. About 950 of the Minneapolis households that have had a home visit have completed major energy efficiency upgrades.
In 2011, 37 miles of on-street bikeways were added including bike lanes, marked shared lanes and four bicycle boulevard corridors. Minneapolis now has a total of 167 miles of on-street and off-street bikeways. 2011 also saw a 21 percent increase in cyclists.
Challenges remain. Our tree canopy remains threatened by emerald ash borer and extreme weather such as the 2011 tornado in north Minneapolis. Asian carp are a major threat to the Mississippi River. The City must work hard to maintain the recent improvements in transit ridership, airport noise and climate change pollution reduction.
Minneapolis is recognized as a national leader in sustainability. In 2011, the city was recognized as:
Published Apr. 16, 2012