Government, corporate and individual players offer strategies at 2016 climate adaptation conference

The 2016 Climate Adaptation Conference: Transforming Awareness into Action, was held January 28, at the Minneapolis DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Over 250 participants attended the conference which through panel discussions and breakout sessions, explored a variety of critical issues affected by climate change, such as water quantity and quality, energy grid resiliency, impacts on tribal communities and effective communication strategies.

The day opened with presentations by panelists representing Minnesota corporations 3M, General Mills and Best Buy. Climate change can potentially cause disruption in production of goods and these companies are creating and implementing strategies to both overcome the challenges of a changing climate and reduce their corporate carbon footprint.

Following morning breakout sessions and lunch, Mayors Chris Coleman of Saint Paul, Rita Albrecht of Bemidji, Peter Lindstrom of Falcon Heights and Jake Spano of St. Louis Park talked about strategies and actions undertaken by their cities to adapt to, and mitigate climate change. While local strategies varied from solar gardens, to tiny house subdivisions and mass transit, the mayors agreed that cities were better equipped to adapt and more nimble in doing so than larger units of government.

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Mark Seeley congratulated Sunny Ruthchild of Merryweather Farms on her Individual Climate Adaptation Award. Ruthchild farms using climate change resilient practices.

Mark Seeley presented the Climate Adaptation awards which recognized institutions and individuals who have advanced climate adaptation in Minnesota through leadership, education, research or creation or implementation of strategies or policies.

Institution award recipients were the Ready and Resilient Climate Adaptation Research Team from Macalester College in St Paul, MN, represented by Roopali Phadke and Christie Manning, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Section of Fisheries, represented by Michael Duval and Peter Jacobson. The Macalester research was lauded for its Ready and Resilient Primer, a community guide to climate adaptation and the DNR Fisheries unit was credited with implementing policies to protect cold water fish from warming temperatures.

Sunny Ruthchild and Jason Edens were presented with individual awards. Ruthchild operates Merryweather farm, utilizing wind, solar, and hydrologic principles to grow quality food for local markets in SW Minnesota. She has been active on local boards and associations, advocating for climate adaptation. Edens was recognized for his creative solar solutions, helping low income residents become energy independent, thus reducing financial stress and strengthening family stability.

For more on the breakout sessions, visit Paul Huttners MPR blog

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Paul Douglas of Aeris Weather, moderated the sustainability corporate panel, composed of representatives from Best Buy, 3M
and General Mills.