Insider: April 21, 2016

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photo credit: Save the BWCA

Minnesotans Rally to Protect Our Water

Wednesday, April 19 was Water Action Day at the State Capitol, and more than one thousand people joined together to call on our leaders to protect our state’s precious waters. Organized by MEP in partnership with more than forty other organizations, the event served as a learning experience for volunteers and a wake-up call to lawmakers in the midst of a troubling legislative session.

Water Action Day began with lobbying training sessions and clean water presentations for attendees, who gathered in Christ Lutheran Church across the street from the Capitol grounds. Throughout the day, participants met with their legislators to ask them to fully fund environmental protection, stop environmental rollbacks, safeguard the Clean Water Fund, and respect sound science and public participation. Almost every Minnesota legislator agreed to hear their constituents’ concerns.

In the afternoon, hundreds of people began to gather at the Capitol. Indigenous participants led a water ceremony with drums and jingle dress dancers before the rally in the Capitol Rotunda. Led by rally emcee Audrey Arner, more than a thousand people gathered inside the Capitol to listen to speakers and chant “Water Is Life” in more than a dozen different languages.

After an opening proclamation of a state-wide Water Action Day by Governor Mark Dayton, the rally speakers told the crowd of sickly rivers and deteriorating pipelines, and called on all of us to step up to defend Minnesota’s waters. The final speaker was activist and Honor the Earth leader Winona LaDuke, who led listeners in a rousing call to action to defend our water and land from polluters and safeguard our resources for future generations.

For those who were unable to attend the rally, you can watch it on this video, courtesy of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

To all those who participated, and to the organizations and partners who made it possible: we thank you, and urge you to continue raising your voice to defend Minnesota’s waters!

                Water Action Day Rally Speakers and Quotes               

Ann Bancroft and Winona LaDuke
photo courtesy of Steve Morse
  • Audrey Arner, farmer: “We’re here to tell legislators to invest in our environment and clean water – to safeguard our legacy!”
  • Governor Mark Dayton: “All Minnesotans have a stake in water that’s safe for drinking, swimming, and fishing”
  • Vice President Walter Mondale (in a letter read by MEP’s Steve Morse: “Protecting our treasured waters has never been easy. There have always been interests who seek to weaken our laws. We must not let that happen now!
  • Brandon Williams, Augsburg student: “Things that matter are constantly fought for!
  • Ann Bancroft, polar explorer: “We need to come together not just for the planet, but for our very souls!”
  • Julie Arnold, farmer: “Family farmers and rural Minnesotans don’t want factory farms in our communities!”
  • Winona LaDuke, activist, to Enbridge: “Why don’t you bring us renewables instead of more bad ideas?”
  • All speakers and attendees, in unison: “Water is life!”

Read Vice President Mondale’s letter here

 Water Action Day Media Coverage:​


Water walkers to begin journey in Duluth

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Anishinaabe walkers will begin a 1,420-mile journey Thursday carrying a pail of Lake Superior water from Duluth to Matane, Quebec, where they’ll join the water with the St. Lawrence River. For the Earth and Water Walk is an Anishinaabe ceremony to honor the water’s gift of life for all beings. It isn’t a protest, but rather a reminder that people have a responsibility to care for water and that Native Americans have always been here, living with the land and water, said water walker Tasha Beeds of Peterborough, Ontario. >>Read More.

     Other Advocacy and Events News                                                                

Minnesotans Organize for the People’s Climate March

(From partner group MN350) — Hundreds of Minnesotans are stepping up their game on climate change activism, joining an expected one hundred thousand people or more at the Peoples Climate March in Washington D.C. Eight buses will depart from 10 cities statewide — from Bemidji to St Peter gathering a broad coalition of Minnesotans to march for “Jobs Justice, and the Climate.” Charter buses to the march will depart on April 26, 27, and 28. Tickets and scholarship information are available at 

Fearing cuts that will affect the most vulnerable, transit advocates rally at Minnesota Capitol

(From Minnpost) — Kathleen Murphy has been a life-long public transit user because of a congenital condition that prevents her from driving. “I have a hearing loss that I’ve had from birth,” she said. “So, my doctor said it’s best for me not to drive because I’d be in too many accidents.”Murphy, who recently turned 65, said she takes city buses and trains to do everything from buying food from the local grocery store to visiting friends in the Twin Cities from her Richfield home. >>Read More.


photo credit: Midwest Energy News

Solar Energy Disparity Emerges Among Minnesota Schools

(From MPR News) — Mounds View High School’s flat roof sports a colorful solar array capable of reducing the school’s electricity costs and giving students a real-world learning experience.“Look at the solar through the course of the day and see how that peaks and see if there’s any correlation at all with cosmic ray collection data,” teacher Mike Cartwright suggested to one of his physics students recently.In just a couple clicks on the computer, Cartwright can pull up data on how much energy the panels are producing at a given time. Meanwhile, the school district expects to save $1 million on its utility bills in the next 25 years from six different solar projects scattered throughout the north-metro district. >>Read More.

Minnesota wind power expands

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — ST. PAUL — Minnesotans who like neat hair may not like it, but the state blessed with strong winds is saving money by using it to create more electricity every year. The American Wind Energy Association announced Wednesday, April 19 that more than 15 percent of the state’s electricity comes from wind power. That figure is predicted to double by 2021. Minnesota’s largest electric utility, Xcel Energy, produces 19 percent of its power by wind, expected to increase to 34 percent in five years. >>Read More.


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The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

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