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PNS Daily Newscast - November 25, 2020 


Feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving and beyond; and is that Turkey really from a family farm? (Note to Broadcasters: the newscast has been granted a holiday for Thanksgiving, but we shall return first thing Friday.)


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Formal transition to Biden presidency begins; key Biden Cabinet nominations to be announced today. *2020Talks will not be released 11/26 & 11/27*

BIPOC Community: All MN Residents Should Have Access to Nature

Lee Vue says Minnesota needs to improve access to nature for people of color. She says one example is the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis, where industrial areas and roads block access. (Lee Vue)
Lee Vue says Minnesota needs to improve access to nature for people of color. She says one example is the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis, where industrial areas and roads block access. (Lee Vue)
August 24, 2020

MINNEANAPOLIS -- Calls to close racial gaps in the U.S. have been amplified since the police killing of George Floyd, and activists say access to nature should be no exception.

Minnesota is well-known for its natural beauty and public access to waterways and parks. But residents like Lee Vue of St. Paul say they have experienced acts of micro-aggression that can cause many people of color not to feel welcome in recreational settings used mostly by whites.

Vue, a Hmong American and outdoor enthusiast, said many people of color want to connect with nature, but traditions like camping often did not feel safe or accessible to their families, so they weren't passed down to younger generations.

"We don't have generational wealth, so therefore, we don't have generational connection to the outdoors," Vue said.

The 30-year-old Vue says she feels greater outreach for all age groups in these communities could help address the distrust, and better urban planning can boost access to green spaces and other benefits of nature.

A new report co-authored by the Center for American Progress says in Minnesota, people of color are five times more likely than whites to live in a nature-deprived area.

Sam Grant, executive director of the group MN 350, said as an African American man, he agrees micro-aggressions do occur in public parks and other natural spaces in the region. And he thinks longstanding economic inequalities can prevent Minnesotans of color from pursuing outdoor opportunities.

"You have to have a little bit of extra resources in your life in order to buy that nicer bike that is comfortable to ride long distances, or to be able to take time off from work and spend time out in nature," Grant said.

Advocates for more inclusive policies say environmental groups need to do their part by hiring more people of color. Ann Mulholland, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said these groups know they have to take action on this front.

"There is no question that the mainstream environmental movement is predominantly white. And that needs to change - and it needs to change urgently," Mulholland said.

She said environmental groups have to hold each other accountable so they don't lose sight of the need to diversify their staffs.

She also hopes the Great American Outdoors Act recently passed by Congress can help increase outdoor access for people of color. At the same time, she noted the effects of climate change - such as flooding and heat islands - disproportionately impact communities of color.

Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Sustainable Agriculture, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN