Minnesota has been feeling the impacts of a changing climate for two decades now ... slowly seeing a shift in weather trends. With carbon and other greenhouse gases continuing to increase in the atmosphere - now regularly over 400 ppm - the state will see more change occurring more rapidly.
Our city and state officials are preparing for those changes.
The City of St. Paul received funding 3 years ago to begin to engage communities in climate preparedness. One of the results of those conversations was the creation of a booklet called Ready and Resilient. You can find it on the website at Macalester College, where the report was prepared.
The City of Minneapolis has been working internally on preparedness but had not yet engaged communities in the conversation, until recently, when it received a grant do begin the conversation. In the fall of 2016, the City of Minneapolis worked with the Longfellow-Seward neighborhood, the Phillips neighborhood and Near North neighborhoods to host community conversations.
In these conversations, small groups of neighbors received information from the health department and the state climatologist regarding the kinds of changes we will be seeing in Minnesota, and the health impacts those changes will likely cause. Residents then talked together about how those changes would impact their neighborhoods and what might be done about:
Extreme heat and humidity straining people, plants, animals, streets and our energy grid
Excessive rain and flooding, damaging streets, homes and our clean water
More freeze-and-thaw cycles, damaging trees, plants and pavement
Icy sidewalks making it harder to walk and bike
More insect-borne diseases, longer growing seasons with higher pollen counts
Climate preparedness is not an individual action. While individual households can take some action, real action happens at the community level and it will require more participation - and more social connection.
Longfellow has begun the conversation, but it needs to continue and more people need to be involved. If you would like to help bring this conversation to the larger community - or participate in a conversation gathering - contact Transition Longfellow and let us know of your interest.