Sustainable Bloomington

Sustainable Bloomington

In 2016, the Bloomington City Council completed a strategic planning exercise and selected environmental sustainability as a strategic priority for the City of Bloomington. 

Spring Sustainability Actions

 

Earth Day 2021

Earth Day logo

Discover Opportunities to Explore, Protect, and Restore Bloomington’s Natural Treasures

Please join the League of Women Voters Bloomington and the Bloomington Sustainability Commission in celebrating Earth Day 2021.

The Celebration will take place on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. To register and receive a Zoom link for the event, please sign up here: Earth Day Zoom Celebration

The Day of Action will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at various locations throughout the City. Details about the Day of Action activities are below.

This year’s celebration will feature an evening to learn more about the natural treasures located right in Bloomington—including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and some of our own City parks. Hear from experts about the history of these extraordinary locations and what you can do to help protect and restore these gems in our midst. Then, follow up with a Day of Action by selecting an activity to get you out exploring and restoring our many natural treasures.

Take Action for Earth Day

Join the League of Women Voters Bloomington and the Bloomington Sustainability Commission in taking Action for Earth Day on April 24 (or beyond!).  Select one of the activities below or create your own. 

Bloomington Middle School Environmental Peace Club Clean-Up
Saturday, April 24, 2 - 4 p.m. at Tarnhill Park

Join the group at the playground to help make the park healthier for people and the environment. Please bring your own work gloves and face mask. Garbage bags will be provided. Social distancing and other safety protocols will be in place. Sign up to participate and get optional challenges.

Can’t make it? Choose your own clean-up location and get out any time between April 22 and April 24. Let us know you’re participating and get optional challenges.

National Wildlife Refuge Bass Ponds Cleanup
Saturday, April 24, 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Bass Ponds
Register online

Enhance the beauty of your local community! Join Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge for a socially distanced trash clean up at Bass Ponds. Masks are required for all participants and staff. All necessary equipment will be provided as well as a "thank you" for participating.

To ensure Covid-19 safety precautions can be met, registration is required and limited to 25 households. The event will be opened to the general public if registration slots are still available one-week prior to the event, so please register early!
 
Bloomington Parks Garlic Mustard Pull
Saturday, April 24, 1 - 3 p.m. at Parker’s Picnic Grounds (meet in the parking lot)
Register online

Join Parks and Recreation staff and the Sustainability Commission for a garlic mustard pull. The groups will remove garlic mustard plants in this sensitive area. Please bring your own work gloves and face mask.  Garbage bags and instructions will be provided.  Social distancing and other safety protocols will be in place. 

Get Out for a Walk in a Park or Your Neighborhood
Appreciate the natural environment that surrounds you every day and get out for a walk in your neighborhood or at a local park. Pay particular attention to plants and animals around you. See if you can identify five types of trees or five different birds. Need some suggestions for where to go?  Try out a few of our favorite local trails.

Looking for activities beyond Earth Day?

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Adopt a Drain
Volunteer fifteen minutes, twice a month, for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. Storm drains flow directly to local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants. Adopt a Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution.

Learn more at adopt-a-drain.org

Plant a Pollinator garden in Your Yard 
Animal pollinators are critical to our food supply. About 75% of food crops and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on animal pollinators. Wild pollinators have declined locally and globally. Prairie wildflower plantings attract pollinators and sequester carbon below ground. 

Learn more at mnnativeintelligence.com

Control buckthorn and/or garlic mustard 
Invasive species like buckthorn and garlic mustard take over natural communities unless we intervene. They outcompete our diverse native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, simplifying natural communities to few weedy species and making them more vulnerable to collapse. 

Learn more at the MN Department of Natural Resources website.

Plant a tree in your yard 
Trees exhale oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that leads to climate change. Climate change stresses out trees, leading to slow growth, disease, or even death. If there were no trees we would suffocate. We can help the forest adapt to climate change by planting trees that survive in our new climate. 

Learn more at the MN Department of Natural Resources website.

Schedule a Home Energy Squad visit 
Home Energy Squad is a low-cost program ($50 for many Bloomington residents, or free depending on income qualification) that gets you started with some basic home energy upgrades and personalized information to help you take the next step. 

Learn more at homeenergysquad.net

Eat a vegetarian dinner once a week 
Switching from beef to other meats is good, but switching away from meat entirely is even better. Going vegetarian for 1 out of 21 meals per week is a small step, but many people find they want to go further. It’s also much healthier for you. 

Learn more at greeneatz.com.

Make your next vehicle a plug-in electric
Electric vehicle (EV) technology is now fully capable of replacing your “gasmobile”, especially if you live in a two-car household. The 2020 generation of EVs are cheaper to own, more fun to drive, and just overall better than the equivalent gasoline-fueled cars – with dramatically lower carbon emissions. 

Learn more at driveelectricmn.org

Manage your food waste responsibly
The most carbon-inefficient food of all is the food we throw away. Avoid purchasing more food than you can eat, and compost your food waste – this prevents it from decomposing into methane, an extremely strong greenhouse gas.

Learn more at the EPA website and sign up for organics drop-off in Bloomington

Unplug Vampire Appliances
Whether your electricity bill is unpredictable from month to month or it’s consistently higher than you would like, vampire power may be the culprit. Learn how to identify and manage vampire power in your home, and you may be surprised to find a reduction in power costs and help save the environment.

Learn more at paylesspower.com/blog/vampire-energy.

Home Weatherization Programs

Masked adult wearing a blue shirt with a Home Energy Squad logo installing a smart thermostat on a wall in a sunny living room.

Home Energy Squad

The Home Energy Squad helps residents living in 1-4 unit buildings learn how their home uses energy and identify energy-saving opportunities. Both virtual and in-person visits are available. Learn more and sign up online. 

Weatherization Assistance Program

Bloomington households enrolled in the Energy Assistance Program are eligible for FREE weatherization assistance.
Services may include:
• Installing insulation
• Reducing air leaks
• Performing heating tune-ups and modifications
• Replacing appliances for energy efficiency and safety
For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, call the Sustainable Resources Center at 612-870-4255 or visit blm.mn/weatherize.

Organics Recycling

Did you know the City has an organics drop-off program to collect organic materials to use in compost? Learn more and sign up online.

Buckthorn Removal 

Learn how to clear pesky buckthorn step-by-step from Sustainability Commissioner Paul Erdmann and Assistant Maintenance Superintendent Dave Hanson. For more information about buckthorn removal visit blm.mn/buckthorn

Sustainability Accomplishments 

Bloomington is a Minnesota GreenStep 4 City!

Bloomington was proudly named a Step 4 City in 2020. Visit the Minnesota GreenSteps website for specific information on how Bloomington improving sustainability and quality of life for our community.

Partners in Energy 

The City of Bloomington works with Xcel Energy to implement Bloomington's Energy Action Plan through Xcel Energy's Partners in Energy offering. More info on Partners in Energy.