Monday, September 28, 2020

“Action is the Antidote to Despair” – Joan Baez

The world can be more overwhelming than ever these days.  There are times when I want to hide under my desk, cling to my dog and eat raw cookie dough.  Sure, that can be great for the first hour or so, but eventually my legs cramp up, I run out of cookie dough and my dog wants to go back to barking at cats out the window.  It is not what one would call a sustainable solution.

So I crawl out from under my desk, drink some diet Coke to counteract the cookie dough and look at what actions I can take to help the world and myself feel better.   There are many.

Maybe you have your own desk/cookie dough/clinging to the dog ritual that you would like a change from?   If so, the following are upcoming community events, as well as individual actions you can take. 

Know of something I missed?  Please call it out in the comments below! 

Community Events:


#1: Help Prospect Park to Look Great and earn a Chinook Book!

"Litter Be Gone" - October 1 - 10th

Pick up supplies on Saturday, October 3 between 9 & 1


Sponsored by the Office of Off Campus Living and the PPA Environment Committee, Litter Be Gone is a series of events to clean up litter across Minneapolis each fall.  Pick up litter in your street and around your block to help keep our city clean.  Lucky enough to have a squeaky clean block?  The banks of the Mississippi could always use some love, as well as Luxton, Tower Hill and Chergosky Park.  And let's not forget the U of M Transitway!


Our friends at Chinook Book have generously provided a 12-month full access subscription ($15 value) to all of our Litter Be Gone volunteers who participate in a cleanup and report their results. Chinook Book partners with some of the best local and sustainable businesses in Minnesota to offer rewards and discounts you can use on essentials like groceries, take out, and online purchases of gifts and household items.  Simply pick up litter in your neighborhood between Oct. 1 and 10, then go to  to share your results. You will automatically receive an email with an activation code and details on how to redeem it.


SUPPLIES: Use your own or pick up gloves and bags on Saturday, October 3 between 9 and 1 at the Family Wise parking lot (corner of Malcolm & University - 3036 University Ave)


REPORT RESULTS:  Report results at  to receive your free Chinook Book


#2: Community Driven “Fun”draiser
In Mary Britton’s front yard at 118 Arthur Ave SE

YOU’RE INVITED! to a neighborhood MEET & GREET FUNdraiser!
Co-Hosted by the PPA Environment Committee
Come meet & talk with Community Driven staff & DONATE in person!

FACEMASKS REQUIRED (we will have some on hand if you forget yours

 * Social distancing WILL be respected

Check our website ( ) for a reschedule in case of terrible weather.
Of course folks can donate on the website without attending and anyone is welcome to reach out to me through the contact info on the Community Driven website with questions or to talk.


 #3 Monthly PPA Environment Committee Meeting

Tuesday, October 13th

6:30 - 8 pm

For Zoom details, RSVP at


 Agenda: "Action is the antidote to despair"

If you are concerned about climate change and our environment, please join us in our monthly meeting. Priorities of the environment committee include lowering the neighborhood's carbon output while building community resiliency.

Short term initiatives:

-        Promoting home energy audits

-        U of M student outreach

-        Working with SE Seniors


Long term initiatives: Begin drafting 5 year project plan for Prospect Park’s Climate Action Plan. 

-        Reduce neighborhood’s use of natural gas by 20%

-        Promote greener transportation

-        Promote zero waste

-        Plant trees

-        What else?  Ideas welcome!  Volunteers even more welcome!


 Southeast Seniors Event, Wednesday, Oct 28

Home Energy Efficiency for Minneapolis Homeowners
Wednesday, October 28th from 1:30-2:30 pm
Join Realtor Deborah Van Eendenburg as she shares the City of Minneapolis’s new energy recommendations for homeowners. Learn about the new energy efficiency grades, innovative and cost-effective home insulation tips, and get resources that will support you on your energy-efficiency journey! In this online class, homeowners will also learn how to reduce energy use while making your property more comfortable, and even increase your home's resale value by 2% to 6%.
Deborah Van Eendenburg is a Realtor in the Twin Cities metro area. A frustrating experience buying her home in NE Minneapolis drove her to become a real estate agent to support others through what can be a complex and overwhelming process. With the most current knowledge of city and state residential home sale requirements, buyer expectations, and market strategies, Deborah works with her clients to execute smooth and low-stress top-dollar transactions. For fun, Deborah coaches youth lacrosse and cross stitches (when her string-loving cat allows).
This class will be held virtually via Zoom. Please call Southeast Seniors at 612-331-2302 or email us at with your full
name, email address, and phone number to register. Please note
registration will close at 9:30 am on 10/28.


#4 Individual Actions


Sign up for the Hennepin Food Waste Challenge!

Did you know that reducing the amount of food that goes to waste is one of the most important actions we can take to address climate change? It may come as a surprise, but the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with wasted food is equivalent to 1 in 7 cars on the road.

 The challenge has more than 40 actions to choose from in five categories. You can check off the actions you already take, then select up to five one-time actions and five daily actions to make progress on during the 4-week challenge. You can also see the impact of your actions, see how you are doing compared to others, and connect with others who are taking action.

 Sign up opened on August 31, and the challenge runs September 14 through October 11. Learn more, sign up, invite friends and neighbors and get ready to make meals instead of waste at


Get a Home Energy Audit!

If you are a homeowner, this one is for you!  Did you know that in 2019, the average home in Prospect Park used a whopping 24% more natural gas than the Minnesota average home? 

Go to and sign up for a FREE virtual energy audit.  They will help you determine where your charming old house is leaking energy and the best (and cheapest) ways to stop the waste and pollution.

Adopt A Drain!

See our “Adopt A Drain” information sheet to the left for more information.  Or, if adopting a drain is too much of an emotional commitment, try ‘fostering’ one near you by cleaning out all debris (not just trash) without signing up for it.  By the time the Mississippi has flowed through the Twin Cities, it is 17% dirtier than when the waters entered.  Much of this comes from street drains. 


Know of something I missed?  Have questions or comments on what is listed?  Please submit it in the comments section (below this post).

Please note:  We have had to cancel the annual Neighborhood Cleanup this year because of the Coronavirus.  If you were looking forward to getting rid of old metal, please check out our “How to Recycle (Almost) Everything” guide for where you can bring it.  Or hold onto it until next year. 

Thanks, everyone – and please be kind to yourselves in these tough times!


Mary Britton

PPA Environment Committee Chair

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Neighborhood resiliency - Questions for the neighborhood

When we were developing the Prospect Park Climate Action Plan, we asked for and received a lot of feedback on what went into it.  One suggestion was to include language on neighborhood adaptability and resiliency, as well as sustainability.

I thought it was a good idea, but I really didn't have any solid ideas around what it meant.   I was focused on our energy reduction initiative.  Vaguely I thought that we might eventually look at helping the most at-risk residents cope with extreme heat or cold.  Maybe encourage more rain gardens and permeable driveways as sewer systems got overwhelmed.

A pandemic never occurred to me.  Rioting and looting never occurred to me.  Confronting racism did not occur to me.

When the corona virus appeared, we cancelled the kickoff and put the energy reduction initiative on the back burner (no pun intended).    At our environment committee meetings, we discussed the need to pivot and focus on building neighborhood resiliency.  But what does that mean exactly?

One definition is that community resiliency is the "ability to use available resources to respond to, withstand and recover from adverse situations."

Good communication is key to our ability to respond.  Not just the logistical aspects of knowing who and how to contact folks, but also listening and sharing with neighbors.

In order to withstand and recover from adversity, we need compassion - for others and for ourselves.  Life is hard for everyone.  But what form should our compassion take?

We need to be inclusive.  Prospect Park has a unique challenge in our geography.  Folks think of Prospect Park as Tower Hill, East River Parkway, South of Franklin, Bridal Veil Falls and Glendale.  But Motley is part of the neighborhood, as is North of University and 4th Street and Stadium Village.  I grew up in Prospect Park and returned in 2003 and yet I didn't know this until last year.  Each of these sub-neighborhoods has unique demographics.

How do we include everyone?

One last question - what are we missing?  What else do we need to consider while we reinforce neighborhood resiliency?

Please send us your thoughts and comments.   (Comments can be added right below this post.) Thanks!

Mary Britton
PPA Environment Committee Chair

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April is Earth Month!

Hi, all - April is Earth month!  April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

It's a hard, scary time for everyone, no doubt about it.  But one positive on the social distancing we've all been practicing is the impact on the climate:   As a caring neighborhood, I'm asking everyone to do their part to help Mother Nature out even more.

Please adopt a storm drain, plant pollinator friendly vegetation, reduce your food waste and/or pick up trash in front of your house. 

Every action will help heal the planet even further and make our community more resilient in the face of adversity.

Please use the links on the left side of the page to find out more about any of these initiatives.  We've also added an option for you to contact us with questions or comments.

Thanks all!  Stay safe, stay healthy!

Mary Britton
PPA Environment Committee Chair

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Virtual Earth Day Clean-Up!

Starting Saturday April 4th and running through Saturday April 18th.

Get out, get active, enjoy the spring weather, gather & bag litter from all the public spaces in our lovely neighborhood and COMPETE FOR FABULOUS PRIZES!!!.


   - Please focus on the litter.  It's great if you clean storm drains, but organic matter (leaves, sticks, and the like) cannot be part of your loot.

   - Weigh your bags, take pictures of yourself holding them high like trophies, and send the results to (Please post the areas you have covered.)

   - PLEASE BE SAFE: practice social distancing, use gloves, don't venture into areas that are too steep or inaccessible, don't lift more than you can manage.

Borders of the neighborhood are Oak Street, Emerald Avenue, the Mississippi River and 4th Street.  If you go to the Mississippi River, focus your clean up on the walking path. Please do not disturb homeless encampments.  

Some gloves will be available on the porch at 111 Melbourne Avenue, but please provide your own bags or recyclable containers.

Winners will be announced in the May PPA newsletter.

Questions:  Email

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Climate Action Plan Kickoff Postponed

Hi, all - 

Because of the corona virus emergency, we are postponing the Climate Action Plan kickoff until next fall.  The PPA Environment committee is still committed to our mission - to achieve sustainability and resiliency through a local, strategic and measurable initiative. 

Ways you can stay informed about the Climate Action Plan:

Ways you can be involved and make a difference:
  • Email the committee at
  • Join us for our monthly committee meeting, last Tuesday of every month from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.  In the short term, we will be hosting Zoom meetings.  Email us for details.
  • Check out the Center for Energy and Environment’s Home Energy Hub at to find out what changes you can make at your residence.

More to come!

Mary K. Britton - Environment Committee Chair

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

PPA Board Approves Climate Action Plan

In last night's meeting, the Prospect Park Association approved the climate action plan.   We are the first neighborhood in Minneapolis to create such a plan!  Yeah, us!  


Curious about the plan, but just want the highlights?  It’s BASIC, really -

Bold – Our mission is to achieve sustainability and resiliency through a local, strategic and measurable initiative. 
Achievable – Our first goal is a 20% reduction in natural gas use in Prospect Park by 2025.
Strategic – We start by focusing on home energy use.  This gives us time to mature communications and metrics, develop contacts within sub-neighborhoods and partner with key stakeholders. 
Inclusive – We have 9 sub neighborhoods that house homeowners, renters and students.  Everyone is important.  Everyone is part of this. 
Community driven – Neighbors helping neighbors to have more energy secure lives, with actions ranging from energy audits to classes to home energy improvements.

Want to be part of saving the world?
·    Join us at the Climate Action Plan Kickoff on March 28, 10 – 2 at the Prospect Park United Methodist Church and sign up for an energy audit.   Learn simple ways to save energy and cut your bills.  Or simply enjoy  cookies and cider and a chance to visit with neighbors!  
·    Questions, comments, want to volunteer?  Please email the committee at  Or better yet, join us at one of our committee meetings, 4th Tuesday of every month, 6:30 – 8, Luxton Park Recreation Center.  We’d love to see you!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Version 2 of Climate Action Plan Posted

Hi, all - based on feedback, we've update the Prospect Park Climate Action Plan to include wording on the need to adapt to climate change, as well as stressing the Environment Committee's commitment to seeking feedback.

The updated plan can be found at the links on the left, and the changes are in red.

Please keep the feedback coming! 

Mary Britton - Environment Committee Chair