Sustainability

Everyone deserves access to healthy spaces, choices, and activities. Sustainability is, at its core, an issue of equity. Reducing our carbon foot print, increasing energy efficiencies, and building environmentally responsible infrastructures is the legacy we owe our children and future generations. To do this, we must focus on:

 

  • Passive House Standard or Net-Zero Energy Buildings
    • Work towards attaining the goal of new and existing buildings, commercial and non-commercial, utilizing energy roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy they create. This requires that we look to the strict performance requirements under the Passive Housing Standards as a model for new construction and renovations of existing buildings. 
    • Follow the lead of the European Union and some other countries that have agreed to strive for NZE buildings by 2020 by setting an aggressive timeline for how we achieve our goal.
    • NZE building goal will reduce our dependence on public utilities and reliance upon non-renewable resources.
  • Urban agriculture
    • Expand farm to school lunch programs, replicating the model in Minneapolis Public Schools, throughout Minnesota.
    • Increase equal access to community gardens.
    • Support innovative ways to grow year round, like hydroponics, in our cold Minnesota climate.
    • Support more opportunities for urban farming such as honey production and bee keeping.
    • Increase access to healthy foods, reduce rising food costs.
  • Clean energy
    • Invest in rooftop solar gardens on more public facilities.
    • Commit and work towards the goal of increasing our current 23% electricity generation from renewable sources to 50% by 2030.
    • Establish policies & investments that meet goals outlined in Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act.
    • While fracking does not occur in Minnesota, we must consider the larger environmental impact and the role we play in providing the sand (by mining and processing) used for hydraulic fracturing in other states.
    • Support environmental policies to ensure that Minnesota remains a global leader in fighting climate change. We must reaffirm our commitment to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states pledged to abide by the initial U.S. commitment in the Paris Agreement. Despite the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it is imperative that reducing greenhouse gas emissions remains a consistent goal for Minnesota.
  • Sustainability as a right, not a privilege
    • Energy efficiency is key to long term affordable housing.
    • Work on an aggressive timeline to achieve the same strict performance requirements as the Passive House Standard, thereby addressing the energy usage and airtightness of buildings, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint while making comfortable  and affordable housing for all.
    • Reduce our reliance on profit seeking energy exploitation that has devastating environmental impacts such as fracking, oil pipelines, ocean drilling, and mining.
    • Supporting Red Lake Reservations initiative to be food independent.
    • Ensure that your zip code does not determine the quality of air that you breathe, water that you drink or whether you have access to healthy food.
  • Developing the capacity to implement more aggressive sustainability standards
    • What gets measured gets managed, so the State must require all buildings to have Energy Star ratings so we have the data to craft informed policy that helps us reach our NZE goals.
    • Identify and increase educational pathways beginning in high school that focus on sustainability career fields.
    • Increase community outreach efforts that help educate families on more sustainable practices.

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Paid for by Rebecca Gagnon for MN House 62B.

Designed and developed by Aswar Rahman.

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