Things to think about with the environment

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) publication came across my desk the other day and during a quick scan came across some interesting information and opinions.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) publication came across my desk the other day and during a quick scan came across some interesting information and opinions.

1800's - Garbage, sewage, sawdust and industrial waste are dumped directly into rivers, impeding boat navigation and creating epidemics

1885 - First state pollution legislation

Dec. 7, 1962 - Pipeline breaks in Savage, sending more than one million gallons of oil onto Minnesota River ice.

In the year 2047:


Climate change will bring Minnesota a warmer climate by 2047. That means a longer season without ice, and that means more evaporation. If evaporation predominates over precipitation, which is the most likely scenario, the levels of lakes could fall quite dramatically and rivers could slow or dry up, because more water would be evaporating.

Some lakes will warm up, and that will change the species of fish that live in them. There'll be fewer cold-water habitats that support trout, for instance, and more lakes with carp and other fish that live in warmer waters. (Lee Frelich, Director of the Center of Hardwood Ecology, University of Minnesota)

The U.S. population is not increasing as quickly as some other countries, but our environmental footprint is much greater because we have higher levels of consumption. We need to slow population growth worldwide and, at the same time, teach people to use resources more wisely.

In the 20th century, the world's human population multiplied from 1.6 to 6.1 billion people. During this same period of time, CO2 emissions grew twelve-fold. Population, consumption patterns and global warming are inextricably linked in their collective environmental impact.

Although the U.S. makes up only five percent of the world's population, we create 25 percent of the population that causes global warming. The average U.S. family affects the environment 40 times more than a family in India and 100 times more than a family in Kenya.

Minnesota's population will increase by more than a million people in the next 20 years, which will affect all our resources. (Laura Kelnhofer, Sierra Club, Northstar Chapter, Population Specialist)

In 40 years, Minnesota's demographics will look very different than today. Our population will have grown from 5 million to more than 6.5 million. Our "over 65" population will almost double, from 12 percent to 21 percent. More than a quarter of a million Minnesotans will be 85 or older.

Families will be smaller and older, and there will be more single folks, perhaps causing reverberations in the housing market. The labor market may be depressed due to limited number of young workers, restrictions on immigration and other factors.


Urbanization and expansion of the metro area will continue. Because of the trend toward concentrating more population in the metro area, regional counties may merge to broaden the tax base. (Peter Gillaspy, Minnesota State Demographer)

Here's an interesting fact: if the world stopped emitting CO2 today, temperatures would stop rising in about 40 years.

Climate changes of the magnitude scientists expect - we are, after all, talking about returning the earth to a level of warmth not seen for tens of millions of years - aren't necessarily slow or linear. There can be surprises and dramatic, unexpected shifts. However, we can make educated guesses from the science and climate history we have to work with. (Peter Ciborowski, Global Climate Change Scientist, MPCA)

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