“More often than not, our candidates come find us during election time and say ‘we need your vote, we’re really here to address your issues’ and then after election day we don’t see them anymore,” said Nancy Beaulieu, a northern Minnesota organizer for MN350. “So what we’re trying to do here is build people power.”
At MN350, we are committed to building a more racially just, sustainable future for Minnesotans in the face of climate change. In Minneapolis, the 2040 Plan outlines one possible path to that future by undoing the strict zoning limitations put in place in the 1960s and 70s, which banned new multifamily housing in large swaths of the city. But last month, in a suit brought under Minnesota’s bedrock environmental law — the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) — a Hennepin County District Court judge ruled that the city of Minneapolis must stop enforcing the Minneapolis 2040 Plan.
Low-income communities of color are most likely to be harmed by pollution and climate change, says Tee McClenty, new executive director of the Minneapolis nonprofit. As a woman of color who’s passionate about racial and climate justice, she’s committed to making the fight to address climate change and for cleaner air and water more inclusive.
It’s time for Minnesota to electrify our school bus fleet. The biggest winners when we do it will be our school kids. Diesel fumes inside of buses and at bus stops are respiratory hazards for developing lungs. Ground level air pollution in high-density and high-traffic neighborhoods has been shown to disproportionately impact low income and marginalized communities. There is strong correlational data showing that exposure to air pollution leads to poorer grades and increased absenteeism. Especially in denser areas, cleaning up our buses and converting other diesel trucks to electric will have measurable health benefits. And, reducing the amount of pollution drivers are exposed to also helps create safer jobs.
In a coordinated campaign, St. Paul, Northfield, Grand Rapids and 13 other Minnesota cities stepped up last month to declare climate emergencies. They’re asking for state and federal funding to slow the effects of climate change. This effort, which is both symbolic and concrete, marks an important step toward more action on climate change. But the question remains, who will foot the bill?