We spoke up and won: A resounding “yes” for an equitable climate future in Minneapolis

After more than two years of countless evening Zoom meetings, door-knocking to speak with neighbors, and writing, calling and showing up to meet with our City Council members, we have done it. On Thursday, July 20, the Minneapolis City Council passed a strong Minneapolis 10-year Climate Equity Plan, and the mayor has announced funding for 2024 thanks to a dedicated Climate Legacy Initiative.

Our conversation started with shared values. Residents of color shared ways their health has been compromised by the longstanding polluting industries in their backyards. Grandparents wanted to fight for a world that deconstructs systemic racism and cools rising temperatures. Renters are concerned about high rents and drafty windows. Teachers are concerned for the futures of their students. Workers are being exposed to harmful chemicals and polluted air in exchange for low wages. Minneapolis residents understood that actions here have ripples across the entire world.

We joined together to challenge our local government leaders to do more. When the city announced its process for a 10-year climate plan, we recognized that Minneapolis could become a safe, healthy city that puts the needs of marginalized residents at the forefront of community-led change. By leveraging federal dollars and committing to make the shift to 100% clean energy accessible to all, the city could support a thriving green economy and improve the efficiency and affordability of our homes and neighborhoods.

We poured our hopes and dreams into the city’s process, and a draft Minneapolis Climate Equity Plan was released in May 2023.

When it was clear the initial version fell short, MN350 leaders and volunteers responded with urgency by organizing with their neighbors, educating public officials, and advocating for the improvements we needed. After submitting more than 800 comments, the plan was dramatically improved. The revised plan included a defined implementation details, strategies to reach climate goals, a promise of dedicated funding for 2024, and defined actions around union jobs and workforce development.

“We heard from you” was the response from almost all of the City Council members and, finally, they unanimously passed the Minneapolis Climate Equity Plan on July 20.

This win was possible through work with our coalition’s campaign partners Unidos MN, ISAIAH, SEIU Local 26 and Sierra Club and everyone who took part to help pass a bold, fully-funded city plan that will allow Minneapolis to be a global leader on climate equity (special shout out to Community Power and Rusty and the Crew!).

This fall we will work to hold the mayor and city council to their promise of a full $10M in funding for 2024. We plan to continue next year to build in ongoing funding and implement this plan in a way that promotes racial equity and long-term well-being in our city. Minneapolis has committed to investing in an economy of care, of both people and our environment. When we work together we’re powerful, we have a voice, and we can create a world that helps everyone thrive. Join us!