Wednesday, January 16, 2013

All fall down

photo of a deteriorating barn
© harrington
I've been reading through Minnesota's Environment and Energy Report Card. There's lots of interesting information therein but, overall, the report is a major disappointment to me. The section on water reports that 40% of  Minnesota's surface waters don't meet required water quality standards. We knew that already. By my estimate, the barn pictured above is about 40% below standards. I figure the next good storm could level it. Hopefully, nothing of value will be inside when it finally collapses. I don't think we can say the same about what's in My Minnesota's waters, that they contain nothing of value so we don't have to maintain their quality. The section on land use made absolutely no reference to green building, sustainable development or resilient communities. It did include a question to ponder that asked about adapting to climate change, but not a damn word about minimizing its impacts. Hopefully, that option will be covered in the energy section. I haven't read that section yet. Anyhow, the biggest disappointment so far as I've read is that I find absolutely no sense of urgency or crises in the report. It's as if on parents' night, your darling child's teacher said "Hi, Mr. and Mrs Jones. Little Jonny is flunking most of his courses and is well on his way to becoming a sociopathic misanthrope, but don't worry, I'm sure he'll grow out of it if we just leave him alone." Or, it mirrors the clinical detachment with which the oncologist delivers his life-shattering news. There's supposed to be an Environmental Congress this March, at which "State leaders will meet in a one-day summit to review report card findings, discuss public feedback received at citizen forums, and begin planning a blueprint for Minnesota’s environmental future..." I hope for the sake of Minnesota and its citizens, present and future, there's a better balance between how we use our natural resources, how we clean up the mess we've already made, and how we can design, build and operate a better Minnesota, starting yesterday, than I found in the Report Card. I also hope those who participate in it will display a greater sense of engagement than seems to be in the Report Card.