Morris Area Climate Dialogue Citizens Executive Statement

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The following is the Executive Statement prepared by the participants in the Morris Area Climate Dialogue. Clicking the link above will bring you to the formatted pdf version.

Concerns for the Morris Area

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.

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

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

Opportunities for the Morris Area

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

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

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

Climate change is happening and we need to adapt our behavior and infrastructure to meet the challenges of our new world, which include extreme weather events, financial difficulties, and long-term adverse effects on agriculture. Research, education, and improvements are under way in the Morris area concerning extreme weather and climate change; however, there seems to be a lack of communication between researchers and the general public and policymakers. Climate change presents short- and long-term challenges and opportunities for everyone. We must all participate to solve these issues. Education is key. Devastating weather is becoming more frequent in Stevens County. Increased living expenses brought about by climate change and extreme weather, including food, clean water, transportation, property damage, and energy costs currently, and will continue to, adversely affect all members of the community, especially those with low or fixed-incomes. Because of a lack of community awareness and underutilization of tools and resources, community members need to be both educated on climate change and given tools they can use to deal with its effects. Once again, education is key. We recommend the Morris area community pursue the following actions to address the issues above:

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

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

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

-Encourage and implement diversity in crops and crop rotation

-Implement discussion of climate change into K-12 education

-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