Glossary

Any human-powered mode of transportation such as walking and biking. Street infrastructure that is set up for pedestrians and bicyclists and are connected to transit networks such as buses, can promote a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A region defined by natural characteristics instead of human-made markers. The Duluth bioregion includes Lake Superior, the St. Louis River Estuary, and the trees and plants native to the area.

The amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gasses that individuals or groups generate from their daily activities. The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world.

Forest, ocean, grassland, or another natural feature that capture carbon dioxide and reduce its concentration in the atmosphere. When  disturbed by agriculture practices or development these elements can release stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

Co-benefits are the added benefits we get when we take action to control climate change. These may include improving the local economy, improving air quality, creating jobs, improving local resilience, improving public health, saving money, preserving biodiversity, or helping the most vulnerable. 

Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP) are programs gas, electric, and water utilities offer to help households and businesses conserve energy by improving efficiency. This might include more efficient furnaces, light bulbs, water flow, etc. These changes reduce the need for more energy production and infrastructure.

CSA is the acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, a system of food production that connects farmers directly to consumers.

A cooperative, also called a co-op for short, is an organization or business jointly owned by people with shared economic, social, or cultural needs. Frequently seen types of co-ops are food co-ops, credit unions, housing co-ops, utility co-ops, and producer co-ops.

A group of living organisms that live and interact in a specific environment, including trees, plants, animals, and microorganisms, that work and live together.

Efficiency means finding peak performance with the minimum amount of effort. In terms of the climate action plan, this means making our buildings and energy production systems operate with the least amount of wasted energy.

Electrification the idea that by powering our appliances, electronics, vehicles, etc., with electricity, we can eliminate greenhouse gases when the electricity is produced from renewable resources.

Energy burden means the percentage of household income that is spent on energy costs. Low-income households pay up to three times more than the average household on energy costs.

The principle that all people regardless of race, creed, national origin, socioeconomic status,  gender, or sexual orientation deserve a clean and healthy place to play, work, and live. This framework recognizes the history of placing the burden of environmental degradation on low-income communities, people of color, and developing nations.

“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”

– Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

GHG is the acronym for greenhouses gases, gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat and keep the Earth warm enough for life to exist. However, human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have increased the number of GHG in the atmosphere, causing changes that throw off the atmospheric balance. The main greenhouse gases that shift this balance are carbon dioxide that comes from the burning of fossil fuels, methane from cattle farming, oil and gas drilling, and fracking, and nitrous oxide from chemical fertilizers and burning fossil fuels.

Greenhouses gases, or GHG, are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat and keep the Earth warm enough for life to exist. However, human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have increased the number of GHG in the atmosphere, causing changes that throw off the atmospheric balance. The main greenhouse gases that shift this balance are carbon dioxide that comes from the burning of fossil fuels, methane from cattle farming, oil and gas drilling, and fracking, and nitrous oxide from chemical fertilizers and burning fossil fuels.

Infrastructure refers to the underlying structures or elements that interact to make a system, organization, or community able to function.

Just Transition is a framework that names the social interventions needed when communities shift from fossil-fuel-based economies to sustainable economies. The concept emphasizes that workers and communities should not bear the costs of this change and seeks to offer additional training or resources to ease the transition.

Native plants are plants that occur naturally in a bioregion.

Presettlement means occurring before the occupation of settlers.

From 1934 to 1968, the Federal Housing Administration graded neighborhoods by investment risk, labeling neighborhoods predominantly made up of black or indigenous residents as too risky, and keeping black and indigenous people from homeownership. In Duluth this includes the Central Hillside and Western neighborhoods that continue to see high levels of poverty today due to the compounding effects of systemic exclusion over time. While white families in wealthier neighborhoods could accrue wealth and attract new businesses, black and indigenous families did not have the wealth to move and remained trapped in poverty.

Regressive financing occurs when lower-income households contribute a higher proportion of their income to pay for services compared to wealthier households. 

Retrofitting means renovating existing buildings to upgrade siding, windows, heating and cooling sources, and more in order to improve energy efficiency or decrease energy usage.

Weatherization is the practice of protecting a building from sun, rain, and wind and making changes that improve energy efficiency or decrease energy usage.