Green Growth & Urban Agriculture
With Donald Trump pulling our federal government out of the Paris Climate Agreement and a Republican state legislature, cities like Minneapolis are going to have step up and fill the leadership vacuum on climate change.
We have taken some steps in the right direction. One of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is a city ordinance I authored that instituted sweeping environmental reforms that now serve as a national model for pollution control and tackling climate change. Passed a little over a year ago, the law requires polluters to pay fees based on the amount of pollution they produce, directly disincentivizing pollution. In just one year, this law has reduced criteria pollutants by 18,000 pounds and carbon output by 6 million pounds. We fought for and won this progressive victory because air pollution is a climate issue, but also a racial justice issue - the communities most hurt by climate change and toxic pollutants like VOCs are also communities of color. And by rewarding businesses that voluntarily move to cut their emissions, we also showed that the choice between environmental justice and thriving small businesses is a false one.
But Minneapolis needs a mayor that won't settle for making Minneapolis anything less than the greenest city in America. By 2035, Minneapolis should be using 100% clean energy. As Mayor, I would:
- Put Minneapolis's municipal buildings on track to achieve 100% clean energy use. I want to be a Mayor who leads on climate change, and who starts by making sure our city government does its part.
- Support community solar projects, especially low-income projects. This achieves the twin goals of allowing solar to spread to areas where it is now underutilized while also opening up clean energy options to Minneapolitans who might otherwise not be able to afford it.
- Increase density in Minneapolis. Increasing density is one of the most politically controversial issues in city politics, but it is absolutely necessary to stop the suburban sprawl that fuels climate change. We just need a mayor willing to shoulder the political burden of pushing for density despite status quo opposition. Upzoning and offering political support for projects that increase density despite backlash will be cornerstones of my pro-density agenda as Mayor.
- Incentivize energy-efficient building design in new developments that go up in Minneapolis. Supporting clean energy is a must, but we also need to lay a foundation for a Minneapolis where we also consume less energy overall.
- Expand the repurposing of vacant lots for urban agriculture. More locally sourced food will be key to combatting climate change, and the city should do more to offer opportunities to communities that want to pursue urban agriculture. Community-based garden plots can help combat food deserts in areas of the city that most need it.