I am a member of the Minnetonka Climate Initiative (MCI), and am writing to encourage the Minnetonka City Council to create a Sustainability Commission and a Climate Action Plan (CAP). The need for urgent climate action cannot be overstated. Climate change cannot be denied — we are already facing evidence of climate change on multiple fronts, from increasingly serious weather patterns, to melting of the polar ice and destruction of global habitats that is threatening extinction of many precious species.
I love Minnetonka, and frequently hike and bike on our beautiful parks and trails. I have two young granddaughters who also live here, and I want their future in the city to be green and bright with continued opportunity to enjoy our green spaces.
The city of Minnetonka has already been involved with projects and efforts to protect our beautiful environment, but more action is required. MCI is a volunteer organization that was started by high school students who recognize that their future is at stake, and who want to take positive action to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. We also work with Minnetonka businesses and faith communities who have joined to ask the City Council to approve both a Sustainability Commission and a CAP in September.
A Sustainability Commission of local residents and students, working with the city staff, will provide a needed focus for the city to develop a CAP and adopt climate goals for increased use of renewable electricity and a reduction in greenhouse gasses which contribute to climate warming. MCI believes that the CAP should be developed collaboratively by commission citizens with an experienced consultant and city staff members. The planning and action processes should be open and collaborative with all Minnetonka residents, businesses and students.
The City Council has already agreed to participate in the Xcel Energy Partners in Energy program, which is a great first step, but it is not enough. We need a more comprehensive approach, and one that is aligned with other local Minnesota communities, many of which have already established environmental commissions and implemented CAPs. We want Minnetonka to be an environmental leader.
The costs for the commission and CAP are relatively small compared to the city’s budget. Approving both of these for the 2020 budget will show Minnetonka to be the environmental leader that it wants to be.
We cannot afford to wait to take action. Please urge your council member to vote yes on this issue today.