Minot Environmental Policy Group launches Sustainable Minot Initiative

The Minot Environmental Policy Group is encouraging local residents to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.

Representatives spoke to the Minot City Council Monday about its new project called the Sustainable Minot Initiative.

Spokesman Tim Baumann said Sustainable Minot is essentially a score sheet to reward or encourage actions in sustainability in categories such as waste, electricity usage, water usage, home design and landscaping, food and diet and transportation. The online version of the scoresheet is available on the organization’s Facebook page at Environmentally Minded People of Minot and print copies will be made available at Minot Public Library.

Baumann said many of the actions that people can take are as simple as avoiding unnecessary trash, turning off lights or removing extra weight from the back of a car for better mileage. Other suggestions are further reaching, such as pledging to upgrade appliances, lightbulbs or vehicles to more energy-efficient models.

The Minot Environmental Policy Group last month partnered with Friends of the Souris River in helping distribute 9,000 donated bags at a local grocery to encourage people to shift their habits away from single-use plastic bags.

At Monday’s council meeting, Kalyn Dewitt Vadell read a letter from a young adult who expressed concern about Minot’s lack of sustainability and curbside recycling.

Vadell suggested the council “seriously consider not only the young adults, but the teens and kids that do live here. If you want to make our city an appealing place for those younger generations to live, then I think recycling is going to have to be a very serious consideration.

“We need to make sure that our community attracts those young people, and make sure that they know that their ideas and opinions matter. If we don’t take these issues seriously, we could very well be losing our young people to others,” she added.

Council members welcomed the efforts of the environmental group and voiced support for the latest initiative. Council member Lisa Olson presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Shaun Sipma and council president Mark Jantzer, both of whom are traveling out of the country. It is believed to be the first time a woman has presided over a Minot City Council meeting.