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Springtime renewal

Fri, May 11th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Spring is a time when we throw open the windows, clean out the closets, and get our hands back into yard work. It's all about taking advantage of fresh air, reevaluating your needs, and nurturing the green space in your life. Most people look forward to spring time, the birds are singing, the trees are green again, flowers are pushing up all over, and everything is fresh and new. Nature is sending us a message; it is a time for renewal.

Lately my weekends at home have been spent getting rid of unused or unwanted things, washing windows, getting the yard cleaned up, and dragging the dreaded mower out for the annual spring tune-up. It is a lot of work, but it makes such a difference in the everyday quality of my life. I know I'll be happier when my fine-tuned mower gets the grass done in half the time.

A few weeks ago, I pulled myself away from spring cleaning to attend the Root River Earth Day Celebration in Lanesboro. The message was all about spending time to take care of the earth. Over 50 adults turned out to lend a hand and make the Lanesboro area a better, healthier place to be. It got me to thinking about how appropriate celebrating Earth Day in the springtime really is. Earth Day is also all about renewal.

We have such a great opportunity to do for the earth what we do for ourselves each spring. We can focus on protecting that fresh air we like blowing through our windows. We can reassess our belongings, finding ways to have a lower impact on the planet while still meeting our needs. We can promote the protection and expansion of green places. It may seem difficult to concentrate on all three of these goals at the same time, however one focus which can help reach all of these goals simultaneously is the promotion of another form of renewal; Renewable Energies.

Here in the US, we consume a higher per capita amount of energy than any other country in the world. We also happen to be one of the richest countries in the world, but more importantly we live in a society that is driven by the people. We all have a voice and countless opportunities to use our voice as a way to steer our country in the direction that protects what we value.

If you value clean air, reliable energy sources, a healthy planet, and green places for your children to explore, use your voice by helping to bring renewable energies to Southeastern Minnesota. As for renewable resources, we are fortunate to have dependable winds, easily accessed bio-fuels such as prairie grasses and wood pulp, and plenty of manure for methane production. Add to that opportunities for passive solar and geothermal available to nearly everyone on the planet, and Southeastern Minnesota is ready for renewable energy.

As spring renews the landscape and we renew our homes and ourselves, let us also renew our future by reassessing our energy use and investing in local renewable energies.

Gretchen Engstrom lives in rural Lanesboro and teaches at Eagle Bluff ELC

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