Featured

How We Protect Ourselves From Products

In 2002, Johns Manville — a Denver-based insulation manufacturer in the Berkshire Hathaway company — decided that the science (and market) around the dangers of formaldehyde were too strong to ignore, and it stopped using the chemical to make insulation. At the time, the company reported, “While there is no evidence to suggest that the level of formaldehyde released by…

What Gives Us Cancer? A Primer on Indoor Air Toxins

In educating myself about air quality issues in Minneapolis (see below for links), I’ve become more aware of what most of us don’t realize — how much toxicity we are exposed to in our own homes. Low-income communities in particular tend to be vulnerable because of multiple exposure: 1) they live in areas that have worse outdoor…

TechDump: The Electronic Waste Land

During a recent visit to TechDump‘s St. Paul location, 17-year-old Julian and 11-year-old Dylan got a tour by CEO Amanda LaGrange. She offered a snapshot of what the company does with massive mounds of e-waste, and why. Older models especially used more precious minerals in its larger components. Step 1: Collection Residents can drop off electronic waste at…

Do You Know What You Are Breathing?

When microbeads were brought to the public’s attention nationally as an unnecessary environmental toxin, it didn’t take much time for us to get legislation moving and to pressure manufacturers to phase out their use. Those tiny, shiny bits of plastic, used as a kind of exfoliant in personal care products, are visible. The Minnesota Pollution…

FAQ: What Do We Know About Minneapolis Air Pollution?

After several people reported this week increased asthma issues — one friend ended up in urgent care — I looked into what we know about Minneapolis air pollution. From Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Contact for a recording of air quality issues – including how to make a complaint about an industrial emitter– 651-296-7300 Contact at Department of Health…

One Point in the Spider Web

In a recent cable TV interview (clip coming), I noted that one of the purposes of the new “Sustainable We” forums, launching October 20th, is to celebrate the people who embrace the fact that we are a part of the interconnected ecosystem — not above it, or apart from it. What are they doing that we can…

The Passive House Standards

Timothy Eian, TE Studio

  This is Part 3 in a conversation with home designer Tim Eian of TE Studio in Northeast Minneapolis. See Part 1, about home renovations, here. See Part 2, about ice dam and mold issues, here. Q: What are the Best Practices that you recommend for Minnesota buildings? I have been here in Minneapolis for 15…

2015 EcoBlend Award for Home Design

At the recent BLEND Awards, two local designers were recognized for their smart, sustainably minded designs as EcoBLEND badge winners. Affordable and Sustainable One laudable project was done by Marnie Peichel Architecture and Design, with Lewis Building & Remodeling, on behalf of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, for a property in North Minneapolis. It is a multi-generational…

Why I’m Tired of the Climate Change Discussion

Pope Francis

By Sophia Morrissette, 16, Minneapolis, as Pope Francis prepares his talk to U.S. Congress As a teenager, I’m tired of talking about climate change. At school, I’ve seen An Inconvenient Truth about 20 times and done a project on polar bears or renewable energy sources almost every year. We’re taught that blasting hot or cool…