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Smaller Minnesota cities take the lead in sustainability Analysis

Sustainability and environmental protection are becoming increasingly important in our world. Elizabeth Dunbar takes a different approach to addressing the issue by focusing on the initiatives of small cities and towns in Minnesota. Her first sentence, also the nutgraf, broadly lays out the fact that the article will focus on the solutions in cities and towns that have become unlikely leaders in environmental sustainability. She effectively uses individuals and quotes throughout the article to add depth, information, and provide smooth segways between ideas.She first discusses the Mayor of Burnsville, Elizabeth Kautz. Elizabeth and other city leaders were disappointed with the Climate Summit in Copenhagen because world leaders were unable to compromise and begin providing tangible steps towards a solution. Disappointment motivated these leaders to create their own plans for sustainability. Her discussion with the Mayor of Burnsville turns into the perfect transition to discuss the GreenStep Cities program, which began in 2010 to recognize sustainability efforts. Burnsville was one of six cities to reach the “highest level of environmental stewardship.”

She first discusses the Mayor of Burnsville, Elizabeth Kautz. Elizabeth and other city leaders were disappointed with the Climate Summit in Copenhagen because world leaders were unable to compromise and begin providing tangible steps towards a solution. Disappointment motivated these leaders to create their own plans for sustainability. Her discussion with the Mayor of Burnsville turns into the perfect transition to discuss the GreenStep Cities program, which began in 2010 to recognize sustainability efforts. Burnsville was one of six cities to reach the “highest level of environmental stewardship.”

According to the author, the GreenStep program now includes “more than 100 cities” and represents approximately “40 percent of Minnesota’s population.” The author even states that it is not just wealthy suburban areas that are part of the initiative. She gives the example of the town of Hutchinson, which has a population of 14,000 and is located approximately 60 miles West of the Twin Cities. This small town has had a composting facility since 2003 and also boosts a system of solar panels next to their water plant to help offset the energy expenditure.

While the author discusses multiple towns that are a part of the GreenStep program, she also discusses the town of Morris, which has not taken the initiative to be a GreenStep city. Contrary to the idea that only cities and towns in the GreenStep program have become sustainability leaders, the town of Morris has several successful sustainability projects including “LED lighting [and] stormwater management.” It would have been interesting if the author would have expanded on the reasons why the town of Morris had not begun the process to become a member of the GreenStep cities program. This simple explanation would have contributed to a further analysis of GreenStep.Overall, the author was successful in providing a glimpse into the solutions that were occurring in small cities and towns across Minnesota. Conversely, I believe that this article could have benefited from an explanation of how climate change is affecting Minnesota specifically. In addition to a better explanation

Overall, the author was successful in providing a glimpse into the solutions that were occurring in small cities and towns across Minnesota. Conversely, I believe that this article could have benefited from an explanation of how climate change is affecting Minnesota specifically. In addition to a better explanation of the problem, I believe that the author could have done more reporting on GreenStep, specifically about the benefits and drawbacks of admission. By talking about two GreenStep Cities and one city that had not applied for entrance yet, it seems as though the author missed an important connector about the GreenStep program.

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