An Emerging “Green” Community

Sue Rengstorf Shoreview Green Community Campaign The Shoreview Green Community is a group of citizens from the north metro community of Shoreview who are working with the Sierra Club North Star Chapter to make Shoreview a model community for its environmental practices. The effort, formed in May 2005, evolved from …

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Bands That Go Green

Reprinted from Sarah Lipman thegreenguide.com Musicians have long been catalysts for social change. When it comes to the environment though, the music industry has lagged behind. However, many musicians today are climbing aboard the “green” tour bus. Why should they care? As a whole, the music industry contributes 150,000 tons …

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Bartering Services Taking Off in Twin Cities

Harvey Meyer Community Barter Network Bartering? I thought that was something people did in the old days. You know, like, “I’ll trade you this sack of potatoes if you help me put up a fence.” Or something like that. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover bartering – primarily, exchanging …

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Bioneers!

Vonda Vaden Northland Bioneers The Northland Bioneers Conference, a feature of the Twin Cities calendar since 2006   The annual Fall Northland Bioneers Conference is an inspirational day or weekend-long event open to the entire community-students, teachers, workers, parents-anyone concerned for the future of the planet. Attendees listen to and …

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Building a Community in Your Neighborhood

Do It Green! Minnesota Building and maintaining a community in your neighborhood works only if the efforts are people-powered. Check out the ideas below or be creative and determine what works in your area. Drink your morning coffee on the front porch. Go for a walk; greet people you pass …

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Celebrating Sustainable Communities

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability It is wonderful to be proud of the place you live. People in small towns, suburban communities, and urban neighborhoods all over Minnesota and western Wisconsin are banding together to make their communities more livable and sustainable. It is fun and also requires patience. Getting …

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Climate Café: Conversing Toward a Cleaner World

Felicia Parsons Do It Green! Minnesota Climate cafés are a relatively new offshoot of the café discussion movement, which takes its inspiration from philosophical discussion groups tracing their ancestry as far back as Plato and Socrates. Recognizing that it is too easy for people to become disconnected from their community-particularly if …

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Clothing Swaps

Eva Lewandowski I attended my first clothing swap about four years ago, and I’ve helped coordinate Do It Green! Minnesota’s last three annual clothing swaps.  They’ve become one of my favorite green activities; they are fun, they emphasize the importance of item reuse, and they create a wonderful sense of …

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Co-Housing

Eric Hart Would you like to get to know your neighbors? Share tools, stories and memories? Create community? Co-housing makes these desires a part of your daily life, even with the busy lifestyles of today. Over the past decade, a growing number of people have discovered co-housing as a way …

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Co-operative Housing

Do It Green! Minnesota From www.co-ophousingcoalition.org From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other townhouse development or apartment building. But, a housing co-op is different – here’s how: Owned by Members The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-op corporation which owns the whole property. …

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Community Building as Healing

John Robbins www.healthyat100.org The choices that we make today as to the way we treat each other, the way we raise our children, the kinds of families and communities we create, will determine how the future unfolds. If we treat each other one way, we can cultivate people driven by …

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Community Building is Sustainability

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability Community Brings Happiness. How many of your happiest moments have been spent with those you love? We are social creatures; healthy family and community ties are the foundation for our physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual health. Our common future will be built through healthy community …

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Community Gardens

Anna Wasescha Farm In The City There is little agreement about the definition of a community garden, probably because the most important goal of such places is to create a healthy community rather than a healthy crop of flowers, vegetables or fruit trees. Betsy Johnson of Garden Futures in Boston …

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Community Investing and You

Co-op America and the Social Investment Forum Foundation Reprinted with permission Everyone can be a community investor. It’s easy. For example, did you know that your checking account could help low income families buy affordable homes? Did you know that your IRA could help create jobs in impoverished communities? Community …

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Eco-Villages and Intentional Communities

Laurie Voeltz Intern at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage I have this dream of living some kind of “happily-ever-after.” A dream where I’m surrounded by friends, and we eat together, laugh together, create together, work together and work out our problems together outside the constraints of modern society as we know it. …

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Environmental Education in Minnesota

Colleen Schoenecker Minnesota Pollution Control Agency What is environmental education? The field of environmental education (EE) began to take shape in the 1970s as the international community gathered to address worldwide environmental problems. Out of these meetings came two landmark documents — the Belgrade Charter (UNESCOUNEP, 1976) and the Tbilisi Declaration (UNESCO, …

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Environmental Education Resources

Do It Green! Minnesota Minnesota is a national leader in environmental education and offers a number of resources: Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (MAEE) MAEE is a professional organization that supports and strengthens environmental education throughout Minnesota. MAEE also represents the EE community on relevant issues and legislation. SEEK: Sharing …

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Finding Balance: Living and Working on a Farm

Emily Darnell Do It Green! Minnesota “Do you enjoy lifting heavy rocks?” This was a question I was asked during an interview last spring. By answering, “Yes” to this question, I found myself working as a farm intern on an off-the-grid homestead in southeast Minnesota. Considering I received a Bachelor’s …

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Green Thumb or Blue Thumb?

Ami Voeltz Do It Green! Magazine There are many ways to think about how to keep our environment healthy in our communities and our yards. Water is often at the top of the list for most of us. Now there an easy way to find resources on protecting water quality …

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How Communities Changed: How To Unite Your Community

CommunityGroup.co.uk Listen to the older generations: many of them say there’s no sense of community the way there was when they were young. They’re probably right, since communities have changed with each generation during the last two decades, although not necessarily in a bad way. The grinding poverty and terrible …

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How to Make Sustainable Behavior Stick

Christie Manning Macalester College & ELISE AMEL, University of St. Thomas Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, only to find yourself giving it up a mere two or three weeks later? Changing habits is hard, in part because our human brains are naturally programmed to gravitate towards ease …

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Keeping Community During the Frigid Months

Sara Grochowski Do It Green! Minnesota   Springtime in Minnesota means waiting for the snow to melt, analyzing when the last thaw will happen and slowly emerging from hibernation. It can also often mean “re-meeting” the neighbors… the ones you saw raking leaves in October and, after the first snowfall, …

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Minneapolis/St. Paul Neighborhoods

Sara Grochowski and Anna Axell Do It Green! Minnesota In only a few generations past, neighborhoods were the cornerstone of the residents’ daily lives. The neighborhoods were walkable, enabling people to perform daily activities (e.g. grocery shopping, going to the park, taking children to school) without the use of a …

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Minnesota, Nice or Not?

The Minneapolis Foundation Reprinted with permission from The Minneapolis Foundation’s “Immigration In Minnesota” Veiled African women wrapped in long gowns on their way to work, Mexican youths playing basketball, a Russian couple strolling in a mall, a Hmoung family buying groceries. These are Minnesota’s newcomers, a second wave of immigration …

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National and Local Community Gardening Resources

The following resources provide a national and local look at the community gardening movement including current events, classes, workshops, planning assistance, and potential funding ideas: American Community Gardening Asscociation (ACGA) Columbus, Ohio. A bi-national nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities. …

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Neighborhood Networks

Do It Green! Minnesota Communities “. . . [A community] must have characteristics which cause it to substantially meet the following criteria: It must have enough population to support a full cross-section of community services, i.e. schools, including a high school, a major shopping center, etc. It must not be …

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Organics Recycling — Give Back to Nature

Alisa Reckinger Hennepin County Whether at a school, church, or business, establishing an organics recycling program is a great way to reduce the amount of trash disposed of by your organization and reinvigorate your recycling program. Organics include all food waste and non-recyclable or food-soiled paper products and can make …

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Paint the Pavement

Jun-Li Wang Paint the Pavement What better way to build community than by doing something creative? While potlucks and ice cream socials with your neighbors serve a crucial purpose (you all get to know one another), carrying out a tangible project together is even more empowering (you all learn to …

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Partnering with Agriculture for the Health of our Communities and our Environment

Mark Muller The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) The difficulties facing the Minnesota farmer are well known. Commodity prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and hogs are below the cost of production. The number of farms in Minnesota is in continual decline and the remaining farms merge and expand. …

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Placemaking: Designing a Garden for the Community

Shannon McWalters Gardening Matters The following information was adapted from “Placemaking: Designing for Community” The benefits of a community garden are countless. From increasing a sense of community ownership and pride, building community leaders and stewards, and teaching youth where food comes from, to even bringing together multiple generations of …

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Random Acts of Kindness

Micaela Preston Author of Practically Green: Your Guide to EcoFriendly Decision Making Have you ever had someone go out of their way to open a door for you, surprise you by picking up the tab for lunch or shovel your sidewalk after a big snow… or something equally unexpected? If …

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Rideshare Program in St. Paul

St. Paul Transportation Management Organization (TMO) In 2007, the St. Paul Transportation Management Organization (TMO) brought the nation’s first incentive-based ride network, a national web-based organization called NuRide, to the seven-county metro area. Estimating that a 10% increase in ridesharing decreases congestion delays by 50%, the TMO believes everyone would …

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Saving Seed From Your Garden

Marty Bergland Wright County Master Gardener, Author of “Grow, Harvest, Eat: Essential Herbs from Garden to Table” Seed saving is an environmentally sustainable, economical, and educational activity for all age groups, gardeners, and food lovers. With a few basics, you can save seeds from your own garden or community garden …

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See the Beauty in Our Communities

Paul Gruchow Voices for the Land A place is not a thing; it is a relationship. A location becomes a place only in the context of time, of history. Beauty has little to do with it, or rarity, or purity. It is quite easy to love an urban alley, or …

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Spiritual Progress: Congregations Going Green

By Sean Gosiewski & Wanda Copeland Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) is an interfaith network of more than 80 congregations that are making the active care of Creation integral to spiritual life and social justice in their congregation. C3/MNIPL is the Minnesota chapter of a …

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Suburban Communities Going Green

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability Highlighting the Minnesota Cities of Burnsville, Edina, and Oakdale City of Burnsville’s Sustainability Guide Plan During 2008, city staff worked with a consultant team to develop a 105-page Sustainability Guide Plan based on best practices and the Natural Step framework. The guide plan delineates 37 …

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Sustainable Community Development

Jennifer Hawkins Graduate student at the University of Minnesota According to the Office of Environmental Assistance, “a sustainable community can persist over generations, enjoying a healthy environment, prosperous economy and vibrant civic life. It does not undermine its social or physical systems of support. Rather, it develops in harmony with …

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The Development of Sustainable Communities

Shelley Calvert Do It Green! Minnesota Historical perspective might provide some clues. Consider the shift in how and where people live. When the country was young and mostly undeveloped, small gatherings of people settled in geographic areas that proved fruitful for farming, mining, fishing, logging or shipping all industries that …

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The Do It Green! House Project

Do It Green! Minnesota The Green Revolution is finally here  and it’s coming to our homes!  We’ve all seen growth in the green building sector and have probably heard of LEED certification (The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System). There are quite a few homes being …

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The Info on Minneapolis Infoshops

Amanda Luker Arise! Resource Center and Bookstore As Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon.com and the like swell rapidly in size and domination of the book world, independent booksellers and infoshops grow in importance to the health of our community. In the past few years, mega-chains like as those listed above …

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The Myth of the Homeless Person

Joshua Lang St. Stevens Homeless Shelter The image that most people identify with a homeless person is the panhandler on Nicollet Mall, the vodka-guzzling man on the bus, or the mentally ill person hearing voices on the corner. These stereotypes are the visibly homeless. In reality, they are the exception …

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The Power of Writing in  Community

Laurie Voeltz Write Around Portland Poet & Teacher How do I tell you about the power of writing in community? Of being vulnerable and honest with other humans using the most basic tools: paper and pen. Of being part of a group where we allow each other to see our …

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The Understanding of Your Housing Rights

Elizabeth A. Emerson VISTA Tenant Advocate It goes without saying that a housing problem exists in the Twin Cites. Private landlords and tenants alike find it increasingly difficult to maintain their housing and tenants, and the housing market shows no signs of relieving either group. Sustainable housing is an important …

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Urban Ecology Center of Milwaukee

Ginger Duiven Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park, a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park located one mile from Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee, was the place for swimming, canoeing, skating and curling in 1906. Over time, the growing city’s industrial use and rural runoff so polluted the Milwaukee River that recreation was …

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Village Building in Portland, Oregon

Andrea Erickson Paint the Pavement & Erica Ritter, City Repair In 1996, in Portland, Oregon, a group of neighbors did something that no one had ever done before. They proposed to paint the street and to create a community plaza. Initially, the Portland Department of Transportation was baffled. One volunteer …

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Volunteer!

Michelle Rosier North Sierra Club For many of us in younger generations, this moment in history feels like our defining moment. Sitting in a parked car to finish listening to the President of the United States address the United Nations on the topic of international cooperation after a decade of …

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