Item Coversheet

Board Action Request

Item Description:
Recognize Earth Day 2021 and the importance of environmental education, community engagement, and partnerships to meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission

WHEREAS, the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is recognized as the planet’s largest civic event; and


WHEREAS, the benefits of a healthy environment and spending time in nature for both individual and community health and well-being align with the county’s mission “to enhance the health, safety and quality of life of our residents and communities in a respectful, efficient and fiscally responsible way,” and the county’s overarching goal that “people are healthy, have access to quality health care and live in a clean environment;” and


WHEREAS, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of environmental education and community engagement - from the establishment of environmental education plans and policies at the state level in the 1990s, to the launch of many county environmental education efforts in the 2000s, to the inclusion of community engagement and partnerships in the county’s environmental plans - the county recognizes that we cannot meet our goals and fulfill our mission alone; and


WHEREAS environmental and outdoor education for youth increases their interest in taking action to protect the environment, promotes mental, physical, and social well-being, fosters lifelong environmental stewardship, and increases interest in careers in environmental protection and sustainability; and


WHEREAS, the county’s success relies on engaging a broad range of stakeholders, including public partners, businesses, community organizations, employees, volunteers, and residents, and acknowledges we all have a shared responsibility to do more to combat climate change and address environmental issues, improve our collective quality of life, and protect our air, water and land for future generations; and


WHEREAS, the national focus of 2021 Earth Day on taking climate action and the county’s adoption of our first climate action plan makes environmental education, community engagement, and collective action more important than ever; and


WHEREAS, the most important actions we can take on climate change include increasing public discourse by talking more about the issue and finding ways to take collective and civic action; and


WHEREAS, the impacts of the climate crisis, like other environmental justice issues, are not experienced equally, since those who contribute least to the problem are the most impacted, making response to climate change a justice issue that requires reducing disparities, advancing efforts to dismantle systemic racism, authentically engaging with communities to support community-based solutions, and ensuring equitable access to green economic development opportunities; therefore


BE IT RESOLVED, Hennepin County recognizes the importance of Earth Day 2021 and that environmental education, community engagement, and partnerships are critical to meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Hennepin County prioritizes environmental education and engagement with youth, Black, Indigenous, communities of color and other underserved and historically marginalized communities in order to reduce disparities and advance environmental justice; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Hennepin County fosters community-centered partnerships, supports community-based solutions, and engages the public in how we design and deliver our programs to empower residents to individually and collectively take action to protect the environment and create healthier and stronger communities; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Hennepin County shall promote environmental stewardship, offer outdoor and place-based youth environmental education programs, and involve volunteers in our work; and  


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Hennepin County will advance green jobs and green economic development and provide equitable opportunities by prioritizing training and opportunities for youth and Black, Indigenous, and people of color; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Hennepin County will support our partners in advocating for state and federal funding and policies to ensure environmental education and community engagement are appropriately and equitably resourced.