Resilience is the ability to bounce back quickly from an adverse situation. A community is resilient when it is able to effectively to prepare for, recover from, and thrive after difficult situations. Some of the significant current challenges facing Minnesota communities relate to extreme weather and other impacts of our changing climate.
A community’s strengths help to increase its resilience. Building strengths for climate resilience may be straightforward (such as planting trees in yards and boulevards) or less direct (taking public transit to help reduce traffic jams during wet weather).
What can community strengths do for resilience?
- provide places where people gather and recognize neighbors
- offer safe and durable shelter to withstand extreme weather
- generate and store renewable power
- absorb rainwater to reduce flooding and replenish aquifers
- use vegetation to provide shade and improve air quality
- build social networks to support people in need due to extreme weather
- provide healthy, local food
Investing in these strengths of climate-resilient communities provides multiple benefits for human health, the economy and the environment. These help to build the relationships and social fabric that research has shown are important for communities to prepare for and recover successfully from challenges such as extreme weather events.
Key challenges and strategies
Looking more specifically at issues related to climate change, Minnesota communities may confront some key challenges that require thoughtful strategies.
Minnesota GreenStep Cities - Implementation resources for best practices to increase the sustainability and resilience of communities through public engagement and local government action.
Minnesota GreenCorps - The program places AmeriCorps members with host organizations around the state to address a variety of statewide environmental needs, help communities and local governments increase resilience, and build local capacity to respond to the threats of climate change.