Full Community Concerns, Opportunities, and Actions

Friday, July 11, 2014

All Community Concerns

1. Changes in extreme weather and climate may raise energy and food costs, which would disproportionately impact low-income households and elderly citizens living on a fixed income.

-Extreme weather will add additional food and energy costs to people already strapped for money.

-Lack of resources to heat and cool homes could cause illness and death.

-Costs of low-income people needing more public services will affect everyone.

-Increased prices could lead to shortages of necessary products.

-People may not be able to afford transportation to buy goods in other towns.

-Prolonged food shortages could lead to civic unrest.

2. Many community members are not aware of changes in extreme weather and climate and actions they can take to address changes.

-The lack of education on these issues overall, particularly among public officials who are responsible for advocating change to the general public, undermines the ability to make changes.

-People are not aware of the personal impacts of these issues.

-A consistent message through the media will improve understanding of these issues.

3. Changes in extreme weather and climate patterns may negatively affect agriculture.

-The monoculture farming system is vulnerable due to changes in weather and climate patterns.

-Farms are not designed to withstand the consequences of soil erosion due to heavy rainfall and extreme rainfall events.

4. Changes in extreme weather and climate may increase property damage during severe events, leading to higher costs and other concerns.

-More citizens will be in danger due to severe weather.

-Response teams would be placed in greater danger more often.

-Current broadcast systems need to be updated to reach more people more quickly.

-Insurance costs could rise as a result of more property damage, making coverage prohibitively expensive for many businesses and homeowners.

5. Changes in intensity of precipitation events may affect water supply and water quality.

-Impaired water quality negatively affects public health due to polluted runoff or sewage system failure.

-Our management of water affects the quality of water in Morris and downstream.

-Availability concerns make it necessary to balance agricultural uses and uses in homes.

6. Public infrastructure may be damaged by changes in extreme weather and climate.

-Transportation of food and fuel would be impaired.

-Emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to get through town to get to sites they needed to get to.

-Sanitation systems would be compromised, leading to disease.

-The cost of replacing infrastructure more frequently will strain the tax system.

7. Changes in temperature may introduce new pests and plants into the Morris area.

-New pests and tree diseases may cause trees to be taken down, creating less shade, insulation, wind protection, and the ability to clean the air.

-Disruption of reliable food supply.

-Invasive species could cause new disease to humans and affect medical personnel, leaving humans unable to find effective treatment.

8. Many buildings may not be well-adapted to withstand changes in extreme weather and climate.

-Buildings have to be structurally sound to prevent injuries and death during extreme events.

-Buildings must provide shelter during temperature extremes.

-People need to be more aware of more durable construction options and understand why building a more durable structure is a sound financial investment.


All Community Opportunities

1. The Morris area can sustain and strengthen its agricultural economy.


-More diversity in farming may lead to new enterprises, manufacturing, and distribution

-Sustainable agriculture means Morris will be taken care of in face of high global population and food shortage

-Strong, sustainable, marketable, and diverse agriculture is more attractive to younger generations in terms of the careers they pursue

What It Will Take:

-Educating producers and lenders

-Money pool to support new ventures

-Encouraging farmers to use resources, like the Soils Lab, for new information

2. The Morris area community can utilize local expertise and resources to build a more resilient community.


-Building and reinforcing community relationships through discussion and facing the issues related to climate change

-Involving social and local media and others in promoting sustainable and energy-efficient practices and habits with messages and resources from UMM, USDA-ARS, and other organizations in the Morris area

What It Will Take:

-Forming a group (volunteer or otherwise) that unifies and reflects various community members and stakeholders on the issues

-Gather support from organizations to create such a group, to foster awareness and promote tools

-Find funding and other resources needed to create and support such a group

3. The Morris area can strengthen its economy and address problems associated with changes in extreme weather and climate.


-Diversify crops and create new markets

-Opportunity to increase tax base which could be used for educational reforms, parks, and facilities

-More efficient use of water and electricity for farms, businesses, and homes

What It Will Take:

-Finding marketing options in and beyond Morris

-Money and time for research to determine which crops are best for diversification in our changing climate

4. The Morris area can pursue strategies to reduce property damage from extreme weather.


-To encourage and assist better building practices and materials in order to avoid or better withstand frequent weather-related issues

What It Will Take:

-Educate local contractors/construction businesses on the latest, more durable and energy-efficient construction practices and materials

-Create a position to assist low-income homeowners and inform all homeowners about upgrading materials and meeting building standards and connect them to available resources

-Use resources, such as the Chamber of Commerce and local and social media, to educate and promote durable and energy-efficient construction practices

5. The Morris area can protect and preserve its water resources.


-Will ensure ample safe, clean water for ourselves and others downstream

What It Will Take:

-Public sanitary and storm sewers systems to be upgraded to handle loads

-Farmers to design drainage systems to discharge clean water and minimize erosion

-Private landowners to take responsibility for their own stormwater (ex. Using rain gardens)

-Educating the public about programs to help them implement best practices

6. The Morris area can save energy and money by pursuing new technologies.


-Finding a way to capture more rainwater for irrigation or watering livestock

-Finding ways to store water without stagnation issues and recycle water

-Finding markets for solar energy and ways to store solar energy

What It Will Take:

-Someone to take lead on project and labor to get projects set up

-Money and time to research the best ways to implement projects


All Community Actions

1. Assess and adapt agricultural practices to ensure future productivity in the face of extreme weather events and a shifting climate.

-Encourage diversity in crops and crop rotation

-Provide famers best to tools to improve crops

-Implement diversified farming

-Design agricultural drainage for more severe rainfall events with less erosion

2. Adopt new technologies to improve individual and community resilience in response to extreme weather, climate changes, and increases in energy and insurance costs.

-Create a committee to start looking at building codes to promote weatherproofing

-Assess your home for potential structural and energy-saving improvements

-Incorporate better building techniques and materials to improve energy efficiency

-Take into account other factors of the manufacturing process (energy, etc.)

-Create an organization to find, educate, and assist people in accessing resources to make their homes more efficient and sustainable

-Encourage better construction in new homes, quality retrofitting of old homes, and investment in energy-efficient appliances and alternative energy sources

-Promote use of green products/industries (ex. solar panels)

3. Plan for changes in the water cycle (ex. more frequent heavy precipitation events) and implement new techniques to protect private property, maintain and improve water quality, and ensure an adequate water supply for present and future generations.

-Use water channeling and drainage to control flooding and erosion, and, where possible, capture water for other uses

-Look at the possibilities of different storm protection for sewer systems

-Publish information on rain gardens for local homes in newspaper

-Find larger scale uses for rain gardens (ex. Irrigation)

4. Educate community members on the concerns, opportunities, and actions associated with more frequent extreme weather and changes to our local climate.

-Implement discussion of climate change into K-12 education

-Begin education in early years

-Search for information on preventative measures and check out resources to help when disaster occurs

-Find ways to use social media to inform and education people

-Get article in newspaper to begin an awareness program

-Create an education site for information on climate change

-Pay attention to global weather patterns

5. Ensure the entire community is aware of local weather and climate issues and able to provide input to address concerns and opportunities.

-Elect officials who will take the issue seriously

-Hold town meetings where government officials, agricultural producers, utility providers, human services, and the public can generate and discuss new ideas so voters and consumers can make more informed decisions