Resiliency to Climate Change

Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Resiliency to Climate Change


Resiliency to Climate Change
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation believes cities must adapt to and develop new methods to protect and restore natural systems, clean water, and mitigate the economic impacts of climate change.

Hall’s Island Restoration, Upper Mississippi Regional Park

Minneapolis’s beautiful neighborhood parks, gardens and green spaces provide more than respite and recreation to six million annual visitors—they can also serve as a critical buffer against the effects of climate change, sequester carbon, manage rainwater, reduce energy consumption, and much more.

Finding more sustainable and healthier ways to care for and cultivate Minneapolis’s world-class park system as we move toward a net zero carbon future is now one of the goals of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

With an estimated 15 percent of the city of Minneapolis composed of parkland, bringing public awareness, philanthropic resources, and best practice implementation strategies to this effort can produce significant changes across one-sixth of the city’s area, while role-modeling the value of environmental sustainability and climate resilience to residents, business owners and other regional entities and agencies in the most beloved and public of civic spaces – our park system.

Our Work in Action

Elevating the Climate Conversation (2019)

Paul Huttner at Sunrise 2019

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Sunrise on the Mississippi event is both and fundraiser and a forum for elevating issues that deserve our urgent attention. In 2019 at our fifth annual event, we featured Paul Huttner – Minnesota Public Radio’s Chief Meteorologist and host of Climate Cast, a nationally renowned podcast on climate topics – and challenged our more than 300 attendees to champion climate resiliency.

We also frequently feature climate- and nature-focused speakers in our long-running and always-free Next Generation of Parks Event Series. In 2020, Dr. Marla Spivak spoke about the importance of parks and other urban greenspace to protecting honey- and native bee populations, the most recent in a string of strong climate-forward voices that includes SCAPE’s Kate Orff, Mark Johnson of Civitas, and London-based Jamie Dean.

Turning a Cost Into a Benefit (2020)

rainwater reuse concept diagram
Concept diagram

Our Water Works project incorporates a public-private partnership – the first of its kind in Minneapolis – to capture stormwater from adjacent properties and reuse it in the park for irrigation and flushing toilets. The system will demonstrate how public open space can play an important role in cleansing urban stormwater before flowing into the Mississippi River, reducing non-renewable potable water us, and minimizing public investment in underground stormwater infrastructure.

Towards a Carbon-Neutral Future

We’ve partnered with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to explore funding for what we call the eMaintenance project, a plan to create a comprehensive study that would analyze the current impact of greenhouse gas emissions from parks operations. This will help us explore the effects of converting all combustion-based equipment and vehicles with models powered by renewable energy, and expand low maintenance climate-resilient landscapes.

Updated May 2020

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