A Citizens Jury came together at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (46352 State Highway 329, Morris, MN) on June 12–14, 2014, in Morris, Minnesota for an intense three-day deliberative forum to discuss risks posed by climate change and develop a shared, community-based response to changing weather patterns and extreme weather events. The jury, a randomly selected but demographically representative group of 15 citizens, had access to resources and experts to produce their own independent recommendations that respond to the Morris’ community needs, priorities, concerns and values. Morris High School students helped assemble data for the meeting through a series of local energy surveys. They also engaged with experts to discuss and deliberate what local impacts of climate change are of highest concern for them and what opportunities exist to build resiliency into their community for the future.
“Rural communities are particularly vulnerable to changing weather conditions, but they also have a unique opportunity to respond to these challenges. It’s essential that these responses come from rural communities like Morris, and specifically from a demographically representative voice which includes the fears and hopes of our youth,” said Anna Claussen, director of rural strategies with IATP.