April 22, 2011
Happy Earth Day! How will you be celebrating? There are lots of events happening throughout Minnesota (see a short list here), but even if you can’t get to an organized outing, you can still help fight to the assault on our Great Outdoors: Send a note to your elected officials.
We make it pretty easy to do this through our Action Alert system. If you sign up, you’ll automatically get an email when an important environmental issue is moving at the Capitol or when it’s timely for you to send a note to your elected officials.
For example, our latest Action Alert focuses on the proposal that’s passed both bodies of the Legislature to significantly weaken the current water quality standard that protects our wild rice beds from pollution. We had a little fun with this alert, asking you to send your legislators your favorite recipe for wild rice hotdish so they’re aware that we Minnesotans truly value wild rice — our state grain — and don’t want them to jeopardize the future of wild rice.
We’ve gotten a great response so far, and thanks to an Associated Press story, this ‘hotdish protest’ has been covered by news outlets throughout Minnesota and even in Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, New York, Washington D.C. and Arizona, to name a few.
But more importantly, our legislators are hearing from Minnesotans that we are not going to stand for policies that threaten our water, wild rice, and other natural areas that make up our Great Outdoors.
Unfortunately, the list of “bad bills” that jeopardize our Great Outdoors is long, and keeps growing. The deadline for the legislature to finalize their policy bills is May 6, which means there will be a lot of movement on these bills in the next two weeks. The hits to our lakes, parks, clean energy future, forests and more just keep coming, and it’s definitely easy to feel like the assault is too big to fight.
But we can’t be passive! Speaking out has actually already garnered us a victory: Remember the House’s proposal in their environmental finance bill to require logging in two Minnesota state parks? Thanks to public outcry, this provision was removed during the House’s floor debate on that bill.
So maybe if we keep sending wild rice hotdish recipes to our legislators (or even a few servings of actual hotdish, as Greg Sellnow of the Rochester Post-Bulletin suggests), we can get them to remove the wild rice provision from those finance bills, too.
As MEP’s executive director Steve Morse said in our Earth Week/Wild Rice Hotdish press release, “Earth Week is a time for all of us to reflect on the Great Outdoors legacy we want to leave our children and grandchildren.”
Anything we can do now to help cross bad bills off that long list will make a difference for future generations. No better day to take action than Earth Day!