Climate change affects everyone but the impacts are not felt equally among all communities. The climate is changing and we need action now. Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color are disproportionately burdened by pollution issues. To help address these disparities – I think the City Council needs to create a plan for dealing with pollution through a lens of racial equity, paying special attention to lower income neighborhoods. We need to bring the more modest neighborhoods in Minneapolis to the table and make sure they are treated fairly.
This would be with an intentional focus on engaging racially and economically diverse residents about challenges, barriers and opportunities that face historically excluded groups. Special emphasis needs to be put towards outcomes related to health, affordability, accessibility, community capacity, accountability, cultural preservation and a transition to the green economy. Furthermore, the City of Minneapolis needs to focus on a net-zero carbon emissions goal by the year 2040.
Frankly the city also needs to be doing the truly simple things like focusing on more public trash cans. The city also needs to study converting the entire bus fleet to natural gas (under the purview of the Metropolitan Council). The city would also benefit by making sure that the building code rewards the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings and green roofs. The city’s mission must be to transform how buildings and neighborhoods are designed, built and operated, which in turn will enable an environmentally and socially responsible way to live in Minneapolis.