Last Thursday, collegeand high school students descended on the Capitol in St. Paul to rallyfor a Clean Cars standard allowing Minnesota to use California'sincreased vehicle fuel efficiency standard for the state. Joined by visionary green economy leader VanJones for a rally at the State Capitol, they also rallied for importantincreases in weatherization programs that will help spur green jobscreation, and a Sustainable Communities Act that will help localcommunities take charge of their own energy future. The Will Steger Foundation, an organizational ally of our college state network TEAM Minnesota and our high school state network YEA Minnesota, produced the attached YouTube video of the event.

Herein Minnesota, young people are having increasing clout within thealready-strong networks of traditional environmental organizations, whoinvited us to join in this Clean Cars lobby day. Young people are alsohelping spear-head a broader focus for this movementy,one that focuses on green job creation, empowering citizen action forsustainable communities, and creating incentives and support structuresfor community ownership of efficiency, clean energy, and otheropportunities in the green economy. An emerging partner in this visionis the HIRE Coalition (Healthcare, Infrastructure, and RenewableEnergy), an alliance of low-income, minority, and community developmentgroups focused on ensuring that the benefits of the stimulus package goto their communities, and that people from all race and classbackgrounds are included as leaders in the emergence of a new greeneconomy.

Like many other places across the country, the moment is perfect inMinnesota: we are fourth nationwide in wind energy production - thenational leader for community-owned wind energy, and have excellentopportunities for energy efficiency in our built environment, greenindustry in our weakened urban zones, and rural revitalization throughsustainable agriculture, ecological biofuels (prairie based), and wind.The proposed BigStone 2 powerplant in eastern South Dakota that wouldhave fed the Twin Cities is facing rising obstacles posed by the USEPA, and federal stimulus funds are poised to revitalize weatherizationprograms in the state. This Minnesota lobby day came right on the heelsof PowerShift, with many youth leaders returning via epic 22-hour busrides Tuesday mid-day and heading right back out to the State Capitalearly on Thursday morning. The timing is perfect - look forward to moreupdates for Minnesota progress as we prep the landscape for The Summer of Solutions.