Environmental Sustainability in Minnesota
April 25, 2023
Environmental Sustainability at 3M:
What is Environmental Sustainability? It’s supporting and maintaining the wellbeing of the environment for future generations. Examples of how people are trying to improve the environment would be by picking up trash, planting trees, reducing the amount of plastic, and fewer CO2 emissions.
Climate Change has been a major topic recently and is negatively impacting the world everyday. Studies have shown that from the trapping of heat in the greenhouse gas layer, the climate has been warmed around 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The causes of a warming climate lead to melting ice caps which will lead to rising sea levels causing floods. There has also been an increase of adverse weather conditions which can affect lives of many, especially with farmers. Crop production would decrease leading to less food and more starvation as well as more unemployment. Ecosystems are another major component that are being affected today. Many species, especially aquatic ones, are dying due to increased CO2 emissions. These emissions are coming from the atmosphere and are getting into the oceans. The CO2 is decreasing the pH levels making it challenging for less tolerant organisms to survive. Minnesota is looking to be a leading state towards sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and water consumption. Multiple Fortune 500 companies in Minnesota are taking action, this includes Xcel Energy, 3M, Cargill, and Target.
A closer look at what one of the companies in Minnesota are doing is with the plans at 3M. 3M is headquartered in Minnesota and has been a leading industry company over the past years. One major step that 3M is taking, is with their energy and climate. 3M is halfway to their goal of wanting to have their customers reduce their carbon footprint by 250 million tons of CO2 by 2025. 3M has also set a goal of trying to use 50% renewable energy by 2025 and 100% renewable by 2050. There are many communities that struggle to have available and clean water and 3M is looking to engage with these communities that need help. One way that communities can have more access to water is through reducing the use of water and 3M is trying to reach a 30% reduction by 2030. Plastic is also another major issue in today’s world as it is polluting the environment and hurting many ecosystems. 3M has set a goal to make an impact by reducing the dependence on plastic by 125 million pounds by the end of 2025.
The environment is going to change and it is definitely struggling, so the least that we can do is try to help it.
5 Ways to be Sustainable:
Recycling is a crucial part in the world that many people misunderstand. Some people think that many things can be recycled, but this can be a big mistake.
Examples of things to recycle would be: Paper, boxes, cardboard, and metal cans.
Reducing the amount of driving can greatly improve the environment because vehicles emit harmful gasses into the atmosphere thus polluting it.
An alternative would be public transportation. If more people use this method, it can reduce the amount of cars driving everyday.
Littering is one of the most direct ways that the environment is being hurt everyday.
Many people will throw trash on the ground instead of properly disposing of it.
This can lead to many harmful plastics that we see in our oceans today.
Minimizing use of Electricity
Lowering the use of electricity can be very easy, but many people don’t realize how much they waste each day.
It can be as simple as turn off lights in a room that you are not in.
Donate to Environmental Programs
Not everyone wants or has the money to do this, but donating can be a really good contributor in helping the environment.
There are a lot of programs out there that try to help the environment each day which can be as simple as planting a tree.
Q & A with John Abraham:
Q: Who are you, and what do you do?
A: I’m John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. I study Climate Change and Ocean Warming.
Q: Why should people know about Global Sustainability?
A: It’s integrally tied to human prosperity. The quality of life for generations will be strongly impacted by what we do to the climate now. I want to make the world a better place.
Q: How is Minnesota going to change from the 2040 100% Carbon-free electricity bill?
A: Minnesota is a leader towards green energy. The legislation passing this bill is as fast as we could expect to go to a zero carbon Minnesota. There might be hiccups in this process, but I’m quite optimistic. I hope that Minnesota can be an exporter of clean tech rather than being an importer of coal.
Q: What does an ideal sustainable world look like to you?
A: Climate Change is going to affect people disproportionately. For example the lives of subsistence farmers are greatly impacted today from the industrial countries many years ago. We will never get to a point where the climate is not changing, but if we can bring down our emissions to protect the most vulnerable, that will be a great step in the right direction.