Environmental Systems

Photo: Photo Courtesy of Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (via Flickr.com)

Minneapolis’ environmental system is an intricate network of living, engineered and climatic features working together. The health of the city is directly correlated to the strength of this ecosystem and how well these systems can thrive despite the pressures of climate change. As Minneapolis changes, the City has an excellent opportunity to improve the management, efficiency and equity of environmental systems to ensure that all people have a healthy and vibrant city to call home.

Minneapolis is among the top cities in the nation for cleanliness, health and fitness, and quality of life. To continue this legacy, the City must sustainably manage and protect water resources while preventing contaminants from polluting the water systems. Achieving this means maximizing waste reduction to meet the City’s zero-waste goals, supporting healthy ecosystems in and around surface waters, and increasing biodiversity to restore ecological habitats. It also means promoting large and small developments that enhance air, soil and water quality.

To sustain a high-quality and climate-resilient Minneapolis, the City must also aim for greater energy performance from the city’s physical structures and environmental systems. This means ensuring all buildings, infrastructure and modes of transportation significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon production. In addition, the City must ensure that all residents and businesses can access cost savings from energy efficiency and can enjoy the health and ecological benefits of a rich tree canopy and renewable energy sources.

As the environmental system evolves, the City must work urgently to support communities that experience hazardous and disparate environmental conditions. Of priority is the creation and implementation of environmental justice policies that eliminate stationary pollution sources, remediate contaminated brownfield sites, improve access to healthy foods, and address health hazards in housing. It’s important to have significant involvement from disenfranchised communities in this endeavor.

Additional supporting materials for Environmental Systems content can be found in Appendix F, Wastewater.


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