Every step counts when it comes to the environment

A few months ago, the staff of this paper began an ongoing discussion along the lines of one that is taking place in conference rooms, community centers, government hearings and kitchens throughout our community. What can we do, as we work to produce a local community news source, to reduce the impact that our activities have on the environment, and to help address the enormous issue of global climate change?

I’m the first to admit that as I go about my daily business, it sometimes takes a stretch of the imagination to see the connection between recycling food containers and saving polar bears in the Arctic. Then again, this leap is nothing compared to the imagination it takes to contemplate the changes this community may face in the wake of a permanently altered climate, particularly when combined with the other, ironic specter we face: depleting oil production.

These are global issues that will play out on the local level, from the food we eat to the way we get to work to where that “work” is and what it consists of. I can think of no other issue that has so clearly driven home to me the meaning of “all politics is local,” a sentiment that leads my thoughts back to this community newspaper. I think The Bridge can act as a unique resource to help this community stay informed about what residents and businesses can do and are doing to try to reduce climate impact and adapt to a changing world, and so I wanted to share with you both what we’ve been doing as a staff, and what we are doing within these pages, to make good on this opportunity.

Starting with this issue, articles with an environmental angle will carry the Earth icon shown at the beginning of this article. We hope this will serve as a simple way for readers to easily identify these stories as they peruse the paper. Our monthly “Green Living” advertising section highlights local businesses that work to incorporate earth-friendly strategies into their businesses. And the paper itself is being printed at a facility that takes part in the Minnesota Great Printer Environmental Initiative, an industry-based certification process that addresses both environmental and health standards.

We, along with many other Bridgeland businesses and neighborhoods, are taking part in the Minnesota Energy Challenge, as well as the carbon pledge sponsored by the Carbon Concierge, a program of the Social Action Network and Bainbridge Graduate Institute. You may see our editor covering a story on his bicycle, or run into me or our art director on our walks in to work. We are working on remembering to adjust the thermostat when we leave and unplug the printer when we’re not using it.

Baby steps? Could be. But I think that on this particular walk, no step is wasted. Please be in touch if you’d like more info about what we’re doing, or if you have strategies and tips to share. And please: recycle this paper when you’re done reading it.

last revised: April 7, 2008