Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Longfellow’s climate adaptation work unique among neighborhoods

Posted on 23 April 2018 by calvin

By LESLIE MACKENZIE
In 2017, Transition Longfellow took its commitment to helping people prepare for changes ahead to a new level by delivering the speaker series, “When Climate Change Comes Home.” The planning team of neighbors who worked on this project included Leslie MacKenzie, Lisa Strong, Karen Grabou, Rachel Hefte, Eliza Tocher, Dani Cloutier, and Ebony Beck.

In April 2018, Transition Longfellow was nominated for a Local Public Health Hero award by Pam Blixt, City of Minneapolis preparedness manager, for the group’s work on this and other preparedness projects. “There is genuine enthusiasm and dedication to the work by the group that is contagious,” Blixt noted.

Kelly Muellman, Sustainability Program Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, valued the partnership.

“Working with Transition Longfellow, and other community partner organizations, has provided the City with an opportunity to support the development of social connection around climate resilience and emergency preparedness,” Muellman said. “We saw it in the literature, but experiencing the power and importance of social cohesion in person has reinforced how critical it is to the resilience of any community.”

Lisa Strong, who serves on the Transition core team, is a scientist with the MN Department of Health. She said: “We kicked off the series with a presentation by Paul Moss, our state Climate Adaptation Specialist, with data about current and future climate effects from the State Climatologist Office. We wanted people to know what to expect and when.”

“But facts aren’t really enough for people to know how their lives, their homes, their health and their community will be impacted,” Strong said. “That’s why this series focused on real-life solutions. Those solutions go beyond just what we can do as individuals. It’s got to be a community effort.”

Bringing the Facts to Life
• In May 2017, when the Twin Cities experiences torrential rain, speakers talked about how to stop water intrusion into basements and how to stay safe in a flash flood.
• In June, presenters talked about living through an extended power outage as a result of violent storms.
• In July, a doctor and a veterinarian talked about protecting people and pets (including chickens) from heat-related illness.
• In September, the speaker gave people ideas about how they can protect themselves and their children from disease-carrying ticks.

At the end of each session, participants shared actions they would take personally and then brainstormed steps that could be taken at a community level to prepare for challenges ahead. Ideas included:
• More workshops to continue to learn about solutions and to help people create their family emergency plan.
• A community buddy system pairing vulnerable adults with someone on their block who will check in on them in a heat wave or severe storm situation.
• Encourage block clubs to connect with one another and develop phone trees.
• Stress reduction workshops to help people develop strategies to cope with and respond better in stressful situations.
• A network for sharing things—developing a culture of sharing and mutual support.
• Creating an asset map of community resources and a list of community resource people.
• Creating and distributing window signs people could use to say OKAY or NEED HELP.
• Installing community bulletin boards or information kiosks like the one found outside The Wedge Co-op that neighbors could use to share information.

Actions that are already in the works include:
• Weekly preparedness emails with step-by-step actions people can take.
• A prepared parent playgroup for parents with kids under 10, meeting the first Saturday of each month at Longfellow Park, 10am.

Get Involved
Transition Longfellow’s next step is pulling together a team to review the ideas and develop a community action plan. Neighbors who are interested in being part of this plan can send an email through the website at www.transitionlongfellow.org.

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