Minnesota Public Radio has done a compelling story on the extent and impacts of asthma in our communities. The story highlights the prevalence of asthma in urban neighborhoods and on communities already experiencing the impacts of health disparities.
This story reinforces our findings from the Hiawatha CARE project - where people repeatedly shared their concerns about asthma, its triggers, and its impacts on the health of their children. These concerns led to the development of strategies to address indoor air quality, second hand smoke, and vehicle emissions in our CARE Community Action Plan.
Check the article for more information about the impacts of asthma including maps from our CARE Project partners at the Minnesota Department of Health.
The 2014 Minneapolis City Tree Sale is beginning on Monday, March 17th. Trees are available for Minneapolis homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits and must be planted on private property in the city. Sixteen varieties of trees are available, and the trees cost $25.
Improving the urban tree canopy is a key strategy identified through the Hiawatha CARE Project. The benefits of planting trees include:
- improving air quality;
- addressing stormwater;
- creating habitat for animals;
- increasing property values; and,
- savng money on energy bills.
You can check the Tree Trust Project Website for more information on the program, including the types of trees available and an online and paper ordering form.
Radon was one of 20 environmental/health concerns identified by community members during the Hiawatha CARE Project process. In our conversations, we found that people had heard about radon, but many did not know much about it.
Radon has no smell or taste and is invisible. Yet, it could be present at a dangerous level in the home. It is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers and causes the death of about 21,000 Americans each year (US EPA).
More than 1/3 of homes in Hennepin County have elevated levels of radon. Radon concentrations vary from home to home and can be found in buildings of all ages.
January is Radon Awareness month. Go to Hennepin County’s webpage to learn more about radon and to get information on radon test kits. Also, check out our Radon Fact Sheet or go to the EPA’s web page for additional information.
We have spent the last year talking to people in East Phillips and Longfellow about the environmental and health risks that most concern them. From the list of top 5 concerns, we have come up with 14 different ACTIONS that we could do as a community to improve our health and environment:
- Plant more trees.
- Reduce air pollution from cars and trucks, lawnmowers, wood fires, etc.
- Work with business and industry to reduce local air pollutants.
- Reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Support efforts to reduce asthma triggers in the home.
- Encourage yard-care practices to minimize pesticides and reduce environmental impacts.
- Reduce chemical use in homes and businesses and cut down on dumping of hazardous waste.
- Reduce stormwater runoff to rivers, lakes, and creeks.
- Encourage people and businesses to buy locally.
- Support partnerships to improve jobs skills, train workers, and create learning opportunities for all.
- Support local food production to grow the local economy.
Poor Nutrition and Obesity
- Improve access to healthy, affordable food through gardens, farmers markets, and urban farms.
- Make it safer and easier to walk and bike to places in the neighborhood.
- Support community efforts to promote good nutrition and healthy food.
We are asking for your help in figuring out which of these strategies are most important to the community. Please go to this survey to let us know how much of a priority each of these ACTIONS are for you.
Throughout 2012, the CARE project team talked to hundreds of community members in East Phillips and Longfellow about the risks they face. Each person rated 20 issues on the impact those issues had on environment and health in the community.
Five issues stood out as high priorities:
- air pollution and vehicle emissions
- clean water
- economic instability
- nutrition and obesity
In addition, health disparities and environmental sustainability rated highly as guiding principles for this work.
Throughout the spring, the CARE project team will be working with community members to figure out what we can do together to reduce the impacts of these risks. The team will look at existing resources and explore other approaches to deal with these risks.
Here’s your chance to get involved! If you are interested in working with us and other community members on one of these issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CARE Project Update Flyer – February 2013
Over the past year, we’ve talked to 100’s of people in East Phillips and Longfellow about environmental and health risks in their communities.
People talked about the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the food they eat. They mentioned household concerns – including lead, mold, pests, and toxics — as well as global concerns related to environmental sustainability and the economic crisis. Others focused on health issues such as asthma, obesity, and access to health care. Overall, 20 priority issues were identified by community members.
Now, we need your help to decide which of these issues have the biggest impact on the health and environment in your community. Click on survey to let us know what you think. Your answers are important because they will help decide the focus of the CARE project in the next few years.