Commentary: You are invited to envision a roadmap to the year 2040
The year 2015 will be a big one for planning in St. Anthony Park. Our District 12 Community Council will work with neighbors and businesses to develop its 10-year plan, which eventually will become part of a plan for the entire city of St. Paul.
At the same time, because of the wonderful support received from the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, Transition Town All St. Anthony Park will be able to develop a roadmap to create a positive, local response to climate change—the most important environmental issue of our time. We hope many neighbors will participate: homeowners, renters, apartment owners, students, businesses, organizations and industry.
Our focus will be threefold. We will search for ways to decrease our “carbon footprint,” the root cause of climate change; build resilience against severe weather and power outages; and strengthen social bonds and mutual support among those who live, work, study and worship in the community.
We will explore ways to live more lightly on the Earth and hope to do this artfully and with a sense of joy. We will draw on the wisdom of neighbors of diverse backgrounds, abilities and insights. We are seeking student interns to help develop the plan, communicate its highpoints, run community meetings and learn organizing skills.
Please help us envision the year 2040 in St. Anthony Park. We currently are gathering ideas for Transition Town’s first neighborhood-wide meeting in midwinter.
In general terms, of all the energy used in the U.S., individuals control about two-thirds—in housing, food and transportation. Should our goal be for our neighborhood to be 80 percent energy-independent? Should we aim to obtain most of our food from within 25 miles, and possibly even own a nearby farm? Should we plan to decrease the urban “heat island” by 4 degrees in the neighborhood? How about offsetting all our electrical needs with large, community-owned solar arrays or cutting back to only 10 percent of what we now throw away?
Of course, big goals are achieved in little steps. In the coming year, we’ll work with the District 12 Community Council to incorporate short-term steps into the new 10-year plan.
But for now, let’s think big! We in St. Anthony Park can make long strides together toward reducing our footprint.
We’ll be sharing goals through a new Facebook page (facebook.com/transitionasap) and an e-newsletter (Transition Times–ASAP). To receive the e-newsletter, email Mindy Keskinen, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have ideas for the 2040 roadmap, or if you would like to help draft it, if you’re able to help with the midwinter meeting, if you would like to be a community leader intern or if you have some other thoughts to contribute, email Mimi Jennings at email@example.com or write her at 2222 Hillside Ave., St. Paul MN 55108.
Michael Russelle is a longtime resident of St. Anthony Park.