Earth Day 2016 is being marked with dozens of local events across Minnesota – but also the signing of a historic global agreement to address climate change.
It's the 46th year of Earth Day, and since its inception it's turned into a worldwide affair. The Earth Day website has a world map of events from recent days (it is Earth Week, not just a single day) – look at all the pins.
Maybe the biggest is the signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
That's the landmark climate change plan struck last December, in which dozens of nations agreed to take steps that will keep the global temperature from climbing at a rate that scientists say could lead to severe problems.
More than 165 countries signed, including the United States.
Earth Day and Minnesota
Minnesota is apparently the No. 5 "greenest" state in the U.S. – that's according to financial site Wallethub, which graded us top in the country for environmental quality, 12th for "eco-friendly behaviors," and 30th for contributions to helping prevent climate change.
(Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and Oregon were the top four).
And for Earth Day, there are a bunch of efforts going on around the state. (Note: There's no way we're going to cover absolutely everything here. So if you're looking for an event specifically in your area, just try Googling "Earth Day" along with your city name and see what pops up).
Lake Superior clean-up
There's an Earth Day lakeshore clean-up in Duluth.
St. Paul, Minneapolis citywide clean-up
This actually happens Saturday, but the City of St. Paul is hosting a citywide clean-up from 9-11:30 a.m. There are seven sites they've targeted – and you can show up that morning to register and pick up bags, gloves and snacks.
There's a similar effort in Minneapolis, also Saturday morning – get the details here.
Help the bees and trees in Minneapolis
The city of Minneapolis urged residents and businesses to avoid using pesticides – because they can be harmful to the already-struggling honeybee population. There was also a program at North High School where students worked with county foresters to plant trees in the courtyard.
Games and more Rochester
In Rochester, the Quarry Hill Nature Center is hosting animal survival games and animal trivia; the Minnesota Children's Museum Rochester had events going on all week; the public library is hosting art activities through the weekend; and there's a preview party at the Squash Blossom farm in Oronoco.
Dakota County efforts
Dakota County noted its the first county in the state to start using 100 percent recycled paper as standard printer paper for its internal operations – resulting in about 130 tons of less wood needed in a year.
They also mentioned energy efficient construction work that's been done, as well as a switch to lighter trucks in its fleet that has helped save gas.
Initiatives in Moorhead
There have been a series of clean-up events throughout Moorhead all week – including recycling bin giveaways, a focus on reusable shopping bags, and more. Details here.
The governor's Water Action Week
Gov. Mark Dayton's office pitched this week as Water Action Week, hoping to raise awareness of the challenges facing the state's fresh water systems.
“It is time now to take action, as individuals and as a state, to leave a legacy of clean, safe, affordable water for ourselves, and for future generations of Minnesotans,” Dayton said.
Minnesota Sea Grant's book recommendations
And because reading is fun: