Governor Pawlenty on environmental funding

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In today’s edition of the Outdoor News, reporter Joe Albert interviews Governor Tim Pawlenty and asks a series of questions regarding our state’s natural resources.  When asked about Minnesota’s 30-year low in funding for the environment, the Governor provided a response that I think needs more exploring.

Cast a Mealtime Ballot for Conservation

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September is here, providing Minnesotans perhaps the best opportunity of the year to support good stewardship of the land. This is the time of the growing season when local farms producing fruits and vegetables are peaking with delicious results. Fall is when many farms that produce pork, beef and chickens using sustainable methods are doing their final slaughtering of the year. This is also the time when grass-based dairy producers are stockpiling forage so they can keep consumers supplied with dairy products during the frozen months.

If you are someone who cares about clean air and water, as well as wildlife habitat, what goes on in farm country all year ’round should be of critical interest to you. Wildlife refuges, forest preserves and wilderness areas provide a lot of ecological benefits, but they can’t do it alone. Farmers and ranchers own and manage 50 percent of the land in the U.S. In Minnesota, farmland makes up more than half of our landscape. As the book The Farm as Natural Habitat points out, in many areas what happens on working farmland has profound impacts on the quality of the environment. In effect, stewardship of 50 percent of our nation’s land is in the hands of less than 2 percent of our citizens. But through our food purchasing decisions, the other 98 percent of us can have a significant say in how that land is taken care of. (more…)

First meeting of the LCCMR

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Today was the formative meeting of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).  This group is the current compromise rising out of the last legislative session charged with spending money from the Environmental Trust Fund (which I believe currently only receives money from lottery sales).  Some folks think only citizens should by the ones allocating this money; legislators, who have final say over the spending, have never been to keen to that idea though.  So now we have the LCCMR consisting of seven citizens, five State Representatives, and five State Senators.   There is approximately $22 million to be spent in the next 8 months. 

Ads on WCCO Don’t Pass the ‘Reality’ Test

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If you’ve spent any time watching WCCO-TV in recent months, you’ve probably seen the series of ads sponsored by the Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition. These ads, which feature colorful rural photos and music that pulls at the heartstrings, make the argument that the state’s economy will collapse unless we allow significant expansion of large-scale livestock operations—otherwise known as factory farms or CAFOs. The ads then go on to blame “anti-livestock activist groups” for the livestock industry’s financial troubles.

Well, serious questions about the accuracy, legality and even ethical basis of these ads have been raised in recent weeks. (more…)

State Fair Eco Experience

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If you are going to the State Fair this year, be sure to check out a new feature this year known as the Eco Experience.  In their words:

The Eco Experience is an indoor green space with lush rain gardens, an eco home, a live stage, and cutting-edge displays on renewable energy, new fuels and vehicles, and organic farming. Perfect for do-it-yourselfers, techies, gardeners and nature-lovers, the space features a children’s area with fun for kids of all ages.

A number of MEP member groups will be participating in one form or another in this building.  Fresh Energy and Windustry will be present the whole time and the Neighborhood Energy Connection has their plug-in hybrid car on display.  In addition, groups such as the Minnesota Project, Center for Energy and Environment, and the Minnesota Food Association (and surely other member groups) are helping on individual days or in supporting roles. 

And if you are at the Fair on Tuesday, the 29th, please come say hello to the MEP staff who will tabling in the local food section of the Eco Experience.

The Eco Experience is in the Progress Center building at the corner of Cosgrove and Randall.  Look for the giant wind turbine blade standing up outside.

Pluto – Minnesota newsmaker of the day

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What does Pluto loosing its status as a planet have to do with Minnesota’s environment?  Nothing.  But since various media outlets around the state are sharing their opinions on the topic, I thought I’d share why I think the world’s astronomers are sending a bad message to children. (updated 8-28-06)


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Hi folks – welcome to Loon Commons.

Thank you for joining in with this experiment.  As you will hopefully notice while looking around the site, we are working to make this a forum for discussion and information sharing on current and emerging environmental and conservation issues in Minnesota. 

To start this off, we will be featuring topics on:

  • Energy
  • Food and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Land Conservation
  • Transit and Transportation
  • Water

We are also expecting to use this forum to provide updates on the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the Clean Water Council, and other miscellaneous items.  In addition, this will be a place to find a near-daily listing of what’s in the news around Minnesota regarding our environment.

So, sit back, grab a key board, and engage.  And thank you for helping make this adventure a success.