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Jefferson Center Hosts Rural Climate Dialogues

Our NCDD organizational members at the Jefferson Center recently shared a write up on a series of deliberations on climate issues in rural Minnesota. The project produced positive results and a detailed report with recommendations for moving forward. We hope you will read their write up below or find the original version by clicking here.


JeffersonCenterLogoWay back in March, we talked about our plans to engage citizens in rural communities in Minnesota to discuss climate and extreme weather. Our first conversation, the Morris Area Climate Dialogue, took place at the beginning of June. Fifteen Morris Area residents came together in a Citizens’ Jury to study and deliberate on the local impacts of extreme weather and shifts in climate. Community members heard from local experts on weather and climate trends, energy & energy efficiency issues, insurance industry concerns, potential changes in agricultural production, impacts on local infrastructure, and opportunities to build a stronger, more resilient community.

Community members analyzed the knowledge gained during presentations and prioritized critical concerns, key opportunities, and potential action steps. Principal concerns include limited public awareness of changes in extreme weather and climate, disproportionate impacts on low- or fixed-income residents, and strains on local agricultural production. Opportunities for community responses include adapting local agricultural systems, developing new economic opportunities, and utilizing the skills and resources of community members. You can read their full statement, along with community action recommendations, in the MACD Final Report. You can also find more information at our Morris Area Climate Dialogue page.

Briefly, here’s what a few participants thought of the event:

“I’d like to say thank you for the information. I kinda came into this warily, but I enjoyed the presentations and information. I also really appreciated the level of intelligence and the intensity that everybody put into this. It was thought-provoking, it was challenging at times with the subjects that were coming at us, and yet everyone was very professional, very open, and very intelligent.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it’d be a bunch of people who were very adamant about this topic and would want to get together and “hurrah” about it. I was very impressed with this group’s ability to come together as community members, as neighbors, and talk about these things in an open, civil, and friendly manner. I thought the whole thing was very well coordinated and run in a very unbiased way. A way that definitely encouraged that openness.”

“I was impressed with the group and how we worked together, everybody contributed.”

The priorities and recommendations of citizens are only the beginning. Along with our partners at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, we’ll continue to work with participants, community members, local partners and community organizations, public officials and agencies, and other interested stakeholders to pursue and realize the ambitions of the Morris Area community as citizens work to address climate and weather issues.

For more information about the Morris Area Climate Dialogue, including daily summaries and the full list of community concerns, opportunities, and actions, check out the Dialogues page of the Rural Climate Network.

You can find the original version of this blog post at http://jefferson-center.org/morris-area-climate-dialogue.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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