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Earth Day 2023: Investing in climate solutions

Graphic with planet earth icon that says Earth Day 2023, investing in climate action, be part of the solutionFor Earth Day 2023, the Earth Day Network is calling on everyone to invest in a partnership for the planet by acting boldly, innovating broadly, and implementing equitably.

In recognition of Earth Day, Hennepin County is highlighting recent climate action successes and offering ideas on how we can all get involved as individuals and in our communities to be part of the solution to protect our local environment. 

Advancing a zero-waste future

The county recently developed a Zero Waste Plan that will make it easier for residents to live a low-waste lifestyle. The plan includes 58 actions to transition the county to a zero-waste system. Collectively, the actions have the potential to more than double the county’s current recycling rate. 

Graphic with 0 icon that says Earth Day 2023, advancing a zero waste future, be part of the solutionThe county is investing resources in preventing food waste, expanding organics recycling, increasing reuse of building materials, and advocating for state leadership on zero-waste policies and holding producers responsible for reducing packaging waste. 

Be a part of the solution

Conserving energy and switching to renewable energy

Graphic with solar panel and sun icon that says Earth Day 2023, conserving energy and using energy efficiently, be part of the solutionTo meet our greenhouse gas emission goals, we need to conserve energy, use energy more efficiently, and transition to clean, renewable energy. The county has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from county buildings by 6% since 2019 and has a goal of generating 10% of energy from onsite renewable energy.  

To meet this goal, the county is completing a solar feasibility study and integrating solar and geothermal into building design. We also use B3 sustainable building guidelines for new construction and remodels, are increasing recycling and reuse of construction and demolition waste, and are integrating more white and green roofs to offset the urban heat island effect.

Be a part of the solution

  • Explore the actions you can take to make your home more efficient and comfortable with the Center for Energy and Environment’s Home Energy Hub
  • Install solar and other renewable and energy efficient equipment and systems – learn about rebates and incentives 
  • Upgrade to energy efficient appliances – explore options and rebates available on ENERGY STAR

Being a good steward of natural resources

Graphic with illustration of trees and flower that says Earth Day 2023, being a good steward of natural resources, be part of the solutionProtecting and restoring natural ecosystems, planting trees and native plants, and leveraging the ability of soil to store carbon are among the most effective ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Hennepin County works with landowners and partners to protect and restore natural areas through conservation easements and habitat restoration projects. 

Since 2018, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Land Trust have permanently protected 296 acres of habitat across nine conservation easements. County staff have also worked with residents and partners to improve and restore 201 acres of prairies, oak savannas, forests, and wetlands.

Be a part of the solution

Educating and connecting in our networks

Graphic with icon of two people high-fiving that says Earth Day 2023, educating and connection, be part of the solutionClimate change affects all parts of the county and all residents, businesses, and organizations. Transformative climate policies must be driven and supported by the public. To advance an impactful climate change response, the county is engaging residents, listening to how climate change is impacting them, and collectively building support for solutions.

The county recently increased funding for the Green Partner’s environmental education grant program to support community-led environmental action, youth education, and youth green jobs projects.

Be a part of the solution

  • Attend an Earth Day event
  • Talk about climate change with your family, friends and neighbors – share why you care, what actions you are taking, and how others can join you. Use these tips to start the conversation.
  • Encourage a community organization or school that you know to apply for a Green Partners grant – applications due May 11

Other actions

Two women having lunch sitting on a sidewalk talking

Tips for talking about climate change

Having more conversations about climate change is important for promoting social change and developing social norms. Find tips to help you have productive conversations.

Youth looking at jar of materials while on outdoor field trip

Teaching about climate change

Teaching about climate change can be complicated, but educators don’t need to generate curriculum themselves. Explore the many educational resources that already exist, including full curriculum programs, individual activities, downloadable games, and digital interactive tools.

Illustration showing earth with red and orange heat waves surrounding it and sun shining on it

Explaining the science of climate change

Grounding climate change education, communication, and conversations in basic science is helpful for creating a productive space to think about solutions. Learn metaphors and analogies that have provide effective in increasing understanding of the complex concepts of climate change.