Why bother with conservation? Some Minnesotans explain

We asked people in our Public Insight Network what actions they are taking to be environmentally conscious and what motivates them.

Q: What specific things do you do in your daily life to "do your part" for the environment?

A: "I work for a religious publishing house and have developed a "green" Vacation Bible School program called 'ReNew,' that churches can purchase and use for their VBS programs in 2010. The program is based on Jesus' Parable of the Sower and teaches kids how to care for creation." (That's in addition to actions such as recycling, patronizing local stores and driving a fuel-efficient car.)
-- Bethany Stolle, Minneapolis

A: "The backyard pet chickens have an insulated passive solar heated chicken coop so they have a warm and comfortable winter. They sunbathe in January." (That's in addition to actions that include keeping the thermostat low, driving a car with good gas mileage and buying clothes from thrift stores.)
-- Karen Larson, St. Paul

A: "When I put an addition on our home (three years ago) I had solar installed, to generate electricity and the hot water in the kitchen and bathrooms. Our home is hooked into the grid in Minneapolis so we can sell unused power to Xcel."
-- Janet Eckhoff, Minneapolis

A: "(We use a) hybrid car, burn firewood for partial heat, recycl(e) & compost, promote environmental issues with our (mostly) skeptical friends. (And) long ago we rejected powered recreational activities in favor of manual alternatives like cycling, skiing, walking, snowshoeing, etc."
-- Loren Bergstadt, Esko

A: "Use washable clothes rather than paper towels when possible. Use (a) broom rather than vacuum cleaner. (Don't use)a clothes drier for 5 years (air dry. (Reuse) bags for shopping."
-- Bill Rowe, Golden Valley

A: "I 'power down' whenever I leave my apartment for the day. I turn off my power strip, turn down the thermostat, and hit the lights. "
-- Robert Bauer, St. Paul

A: "(We started) a nonprofit, Adonis Eco-Housing (AEH). AEH was founded to do three things: address our vacant housing, make it affordable, reduce our human footprint. We have also started a for-profit to help fund our current project. This is become my daily life and my part for the environment."
-- Ianni Houmas, St. Paul

Q: How did you come to the conclusion to be environmentally friendly?

A: "A lot of my actions stem from my faith and belief that creation is a gift -- and we are given the opportunity and responsibility to care for each other and all of creation. For me, "going green" is really an issue of justice and stewardship."
-- Bethany Stolle, Minneapolis

A: "None of these actions are big things, none of them have been difficult, none have been a burden. We have not saved the environment by doing something big or spending money on remodeling, but we have cut back on the stress on the environment. We have saved money by doing these things."
-- Karen Larson, St. Paul

A: "These small steps seemed the logical choice for the long-term sustainability of the environment. (We) wanted to set a positive and 'out of the norm' example to family, friends, and neighbors."
-- Janet Eckoff, Minneapolis

A: "I'm an old fogey. I remember that during the energy shortages of the '70s there were convincing arguments, with supporting data, to show that the whole world could not live by our standard of wastefulness. The arguments have only become more convincing with time."
-- Loren Bergstedt, Esko

A: "I grew up in central Illinois coal country where there are huge slag piles, closed pits. My mother's family worked for coal (industries) and helped disabled miners get black lung benefits. But the real underlying reason is a belief that we are stewards of God's creation and an integral part of it."
-- Bill Rowe, Golden Valley

A: "The assistant director of Energy Management at the University of Minnesota, Jim Green, convinced students in the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group to take on a project to make everyone aware of energy use on campus, especially "vampire power," or electricity that devices use when they're turned off or in standby mode. I was part of that group and now I make sure to do my part."
-- Robert Bauer, St. Paul

A: "I do what I'm doing not for what can be done, but rather what has been done in the past. With what our generation has been given and what we have to do in order to pass (on) a viable future to the next generation, we've got our work cut out for us."
--Ianni Houmas, St. Paul

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