News & Ideas

Dreaming and being thankful with Hope Flanagan

I was so inspired by Hope Flanagan’s words and wisdom when I first met her in spring 2021. Her enthusiasm for the natural world is contagious. Add to that her passion for gardening, cooking, and storytelling and it is almost…

Better Futures: A workforce and environmental solution

The Better Futures-Becker County pilot program was recognized in May 2021 for the innovative workforce approach used when diverting useful goods and materials from the landfill. With the building renovation boom still strong, I wondered how things were going…

“What are you willing to give up?”: Reflections on 25 years as Executive Director

I was blessed many years ago to be asked a powerful question by someone I had only just met. We were talking about Environmental Initiative’s emerging focus on social equity and racial justice, and she surprised me by asking, “What…

East Metro businesses prevent pollution through voluntary upgrades

Many small businesses, including auto body shops and dry cleaners emit at least some chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. These chemicals are harmful to human health. VOCs also react with other gases to form other air pollutants when released into the air. Improving health and safety is why Environmental Initiative…

Project CAR celebrates 100 repairs at The Lift Garage

Every car owner knows the stress of seeing the check engine light glow red on the dashboard. Suddenly, any normal day is taken over by concerns of finding a repair shop and the potential costs of an unknown repair. For…

Dry cleaner cost share program launched

Perchloroethylene or “perc” is a hazardous solvent once commonly used in dry cleaning operations. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed HF91, a bipartisan bill banning a harmful dry cleaning solvent into law during 2021. In addition to the chemical ban, the bill…

Code red for humanity: Our response

The headlines on Monday, Aug. 9 were terrifying: “Code red for humanity,” “Global climate crisis: inevitable, unprecedented and unavoidable,” and “Wake up to red alert on climate crisis.” We have been battered since early 2020 with a seemingly relentless stream…

Policy Forum recap: Community science, technology, and playing nice in the sandbox

Last week, Environmental Initiative hosted its first policy forum of 2021 on Gather.town and Crowdcast. The session, Community Science, Technology, and Playing Nice in the Sandbox brought together: Brandy Toft, Environmental Deputy Director, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Chris Nelson, Environmental Compliance Director,…