Counting My Blessings: Happy to Live in Longfellow

Tonight I attended the annual meeting of the Longfellow Community Council, cleverly called “Pies, Not Pie Charts” and featuring a wide assortment of pies! (Special thanks to the person who brought my favorite, French Silk.)

It was wonderful to meet a new neighbor who works in sustainability, to elect a neighbor to the LCC board who does sustainability work, and to hear from Hennepin County officials who are working on a sustainable community project.

Last week, at the Sustainability Conference in Minneapolis, keynote speaker Don Shelby said that while it may seem like we are working on these issues alone, in fact, more than 100 million people across the globe are working on some aspect of the transition from fossil fuels. We are part of a tidal wave of change. That was very evident tonight.

While state and national politics can be distressing, there is so much to be thankful for in our community every day. I thought I’d share some of the things I’m grateful for:

  • A community that promotes biking with marked bike lanes, the Midtown Greenway and the River Road bike paths, Nice Ride rental bikes, bike maps (distributed free at tonight’s meeting), bikes on the light rail and on buses, a commuter bike organization and various bike safety organizations.
  • A community that understands the value of mass transit with light rail and buses available, at least in the inner city where I live. I’m heartened to see the planned expansion of light rail.
  • A community that pays attention to gardens and agriculture, with community gardens, the nonprofit Gardening Matters, Mn Horticulture Society, the U of M Master Gardener’s program, urban chickens, the Midtown Farmer’s Market, and many CSAs. I look forward to learning more about new urban farming initiative that passed in Minneapolis.
  • A community located along the beautiful Mississippi River that cares about our water supply, with a variety of efforts to protect the river from stormwater runoff by promoting rain barrels, rain gardens and native plants rather than grass. Tonight someone was working to organize block clubs to keep roadway drain covers clear.
  • A community that cares about healthy organic food. I am particularly thankful this week for the owners of Gandhi Mahal restaurant who are such good neighbors and who allowed the book group to use their community room at no cost.
  • A community where  churches are taking strong action on behalf of our environment. Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis was not only a great host to the recent Sustainability Conference, they are clearly putting a great deal of effort into being a green congregation, as is Trinity Lutheran Church in Longfellow, which offered space for the organizing committee. I saw Methodist and Quaker friends at that conference. I know these faithful people are leading the way.
  • A community with energy options, as we have several solar companies, wind companies and geothermal companies nearby. There is a free solar energy workshop next Monday at Mathews Park!
  • A community where schools and universities are hard at work preparing young people to tackle the challenges we face. Whether it’s the University of Minnesota teaching sustainable building techniques or Dr. Christie Manning of Macalester College talking about the psychology of change, we have great teachers in our community.

If you live in Longfellow or in the Twin Cities, I invite you to add to this list.

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