At Tuesday night's meeting of the Detroit Lakes City Council, its aldermen unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city to participate in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program.
"It's a free, voluntary program to help cities make and meet their sustainability goals," said Polly Daggett Andersen of West Central Climate Action, which has been a strong proponent of the program. "Right now there are 124 cities across Minnesota that are using this plan, along with three tribal nations."
The Shakopee City Council passed a motion Tuesday evening to adopt the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program, making Shakopee the 125th city in Minnesota to participate. Shakopee can qualify for the program by pledging to adopt best environmental practices for the city.
Some examples of best practices could include installing LED lights in city buildings and streetlights, purchasing electric police cars and increasing the city’s green infrastructure, Director of Planning and Development Michael Kerski said.
Excerpt: Kristin Mroz of Minnesota GreenStep Cities attended the meeting to present the city with a certificate and signage signifying the city as a GreenStep city.
The GreenStep Cities program aims to work with Minnesota cities to develop sustainability and environmentally friendly programs. Mroz said the city has completed 15 sustainability projects, which is what is required for the initial recognition as a GreenStep city.
A local 10-year-old girl’s letter was the final push for the City of Circle Pines to join the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program.
The letter was written by 10-year-old Numa Zahra, who attended Golden Lake Elementary this past school year. The handwritten letter was brief: “My name is Numa and I am about to turn 10 next month. I am worried about the climate change. It would be wonderful if the city could declare a climate change policy. Please think about it.”
On Insight 7, learn about steps that Inver Grove Heights, South St. Paul, and West St. Paul are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. Learn more about Minnesota GreenStep Cities, and follow your city’s progress here: greenstep.pca.state.mn.us
Public entities in Bemidji have committed to a greener future too, such as BSU joining the Second Nature Climate Commitment.
"We signed on to have a carbon neutrality commitment," BSU Sustainability Project Manager Jordan Lutz said. "BSU as an institution is committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Hearing about Gov. Walz's proposal to green the state's electrical network aligns well with BSU's goal."
Minnetonka was awarded for reaching Step 4 in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program. The program is voluntary and a five-step program that helps cities achieve their sustainability and quality of life goals.
Minnetonka joined the Minnesota GreenStep Cities in 2013.
In 2009, the city of Burnsville adopted its first Sustainability Guide Plan. Burnsville was one of the first cities in Minnesota to create a plan of practical ideas, activities and strategies for the city and community to support environmental stewardship.
City staff members, along with project consultants from paleBluedot, have begun planning to update the plan to reflect current conditions, build on past achievements and identify goals and strategies to guide sustainability efforts in the coming years.