Extreme Weather PlanningAs our weather changes, it is necessary to modify our emergency preparations for more severe tornadoes, floods, lightning storms, and blizzards. The growing frequency and severity of these events alter the way we think about financing, planning, and executing emergency planning. It is a goal for our community to update plans when necessary and adjust emergency planning to the realities of extreme weather change.
Efficiency UpgradesThe energy we use to power our homes, businesses, and public spaces is vital to the health and resilience of our community. To promote energy efficiency practices while also lowering energy bills, it is a goal of our community to implement energy audits of student and low income rental housing. Moreover, we will work to provide access to energy saving strategies and and implement updates to lower our total carbon footprint. Also, to change our zoning code to facilitate ‘green retrofits’.
Solar LED Street LightsBoth the city of Morris and the University of Minnesota Morris have updated street lights to LED lights powered by solar energy.
Climate EducationClimate education is very important because we need people to understand how climate change is affecting our environment, families, and man-made structures. Climate education for the community can come in multiple forms, including educational events, forums, and meetings. To teach the younger generations about this, we need to incorporate more climate literacy into the public school curriculum.
Community GardenCommunity gardens promote healthy eating, community togetherness, and outdoor activities. Not only do they create public spaces for people to interact with one another, they create educational opportunities for community members of all ages. There are a number of options available for a new garden and a variety of willing sponsors. Currently both UMM and the Morris Area High School have educational gardens for their students, and we would like to see this expand and continue.
Rain GardensAlthough we live in a rural community, Morris experiences many of the same water problems that are common in urbanized areas. City streets, parking lots, densely spaced buildings, and other artificial land coverings all contribute to excessive runoff, flash flooding, and water contamination. To better prepare for greater rainfalls, one goal is the creation of additional rain gardens near public and private buildings.
Expanding Renewable EnergyRenewable energy is fundamental to promoting resilient practices. Solar and wind energy in particular are viable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels that otherwise pollute our environment and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Morris already has developed significant renewable energy capacity, and new plans are under development to expand this potential. One option is creating a community solar garden which has the added benefit of democratizing green energy access in our community.
Alternative TransportationSafe and healthy forms of transportation are essential for creating a resilient community. It is a priority for both our city government and for public health experts in the area to encourage the use of zero carbon or energy efficient vehicles. Walking, biking, and public transportation are current options for our community. In the future, we would like to expand bike paths and to expand the “Safe Route to School” strategy to encourage students to walk to school.
Healthy Tree CanopyA resilient tree canopy ensures a healthy community and a sustainable environment. Our city and university are currently dedicated to transitioning away from a singular species canopy and embracing a more diverse planting strategy. Morris is also committed to planting tree species that are more resilient to extreme heat and drought. Planting more of these trees will expand shade coverage, thus reducing the negative effects of extreme heat.