Thursday, April 22 marks Earth Day, a global holiday in recognition of the planet and the action needed to protect it. Millions across the globe celebrate this holiday and the natural beauty of our world and acknowledge the crucial demand to maintain and protect it. In 2021, our planet continues to face a dire climate crisis that threatens the livelihoods of all of us, and the state of Minnesota is no exception to this dire need for environmental action.
Known nationally as land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota faces serious consequences for the water pollution in our state. Around 40% of the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams are impaired due to pollution, making them undrinkable, un-swimmable, and un-fishable. Additionally, air pollution threatens the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans, causing roughly 2,000-4,000 pollution-related deaths in 2013 based on reporting available from the MPCA and the Minnesota Department of Health. Further, national data shows how the effects of pollution and climate change disproportionately harm communities of color, creating a heightened need to act on proposed environmental justice legislative initiatives.
Despite clear and distressing statistics from state scientists and health officials, Senate Republicans still fail to address or even recognize this crisis through legislation. The Senate Republican Environmental Budget this session falls far short of implementing fast-acting and thorough policy to protect Minnesota and its citizens. The problem is real and growing rapidly each year, and the time to act is now.