Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center Latest Blog Posts

When Oxford Dictionaries chooses “climate emergency” as the word of the year for 2019, you know things are changing. Our children are inheriting a world vastly different and more dangerous than the one we grew up in, and we need to act on climate now. 

When Oxford Dictionaries chooses “climate emergency” as the word of the year for 2019, you know things are changing. Our children are inheriting a world vastly different and more dangerous than the one we grew up in, and we need to act on climate now. 

Yet as world leaders meet in Madrid this week to discuss progress towards cutting global warming pollution and hitting the targets of the historic international Paris Agreement, President Trump has vowed to pull our country out. 

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John Rumpler
Senior Director, Clean Water for America Campaign and Senior Attorney

Why do we need federal protection under the Clean Water Act if there are also state laws designed to protect our rivers and streams? The answer is that, all too often, state officials fail to enforce their own laws or side with politically-powerful polluters.

We all want our teeth to be clean after brushing, and our bodies to be clean after showering, but did you know the products used in these everyday activities could be harming wildlife? Hundreds of commonly-used household products contain tiny plastic microbeads, which can be a big problem for our environment. 

Last year at this time, the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie caused nearly half a million people in and around Toledo, Ohio, to be without safe drinking water. Clean water from our taps is something that many of us take for granted, but if we don’t protect our water sources — like the residents of Toledo discovered — we won’t be able to take it for granted anymore.

Lucas Melby is from Mankato, Minnesota and is currently studying political science at Hamline University. His favorite things to do outdoors include camping with his family, biking on the trails around Mankato, and, of course, going to the many lakes of Minnesota.

I have had a first-hand view of the Minnesota River since coming to Minnesota State University, located at the bend in the river at Mankato. It was a clear river in pre-settler times and had many wetlands to mitigate flooding. Since those times, though, the area has been converted into an intensive agricultural landscape and economy. We benefit financially from the crops grown in the region, but also have the negative consequences of poor stewardship of the lands and waters.

Have you ever seen a lake that’s green? The iconic photos of Minnesota’s lakes always show clear blue water, but in reality we aren’t so lucky. Even here, where everyone loves their local lake (or several lakes!) and rivers, we experience water quality problems. The most visible is often algae.

As major floods become the norm in the Cannon River watershed, sandbags and flood walls aren't going to be enough anymore.  Agricultural and personal changes are needed to reduce the amount of water and fertilizer leaving cropland.

Minnesotans Mike Crowley and his wife Kate are exploring, writing, and talking about the Mississippi River. In 2010, they trekked more than 1550 miles around Lake Superior, acting on their growing concern for freshwater resources. 

Heading into the summer season, Environment Minnesota is launching a new project with our “Protect our Rivers Blog” to celebrate Minnesota’s network of rivers, raise awareness about pollution affecting river health, and highlight what needs to be done to protect and restore our rivers.