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Letter: Being a resilient community is cool

To the editor:

Yesterday a neighbor left an invitation at our house, asking us to join neighbors to cool off in their pool that evening. "After 6 PM, plastic and cans only, no glass please!"

What a surprise! Their generous invitation — one we couldn't accept as we already had cool-down plans — made me think about the importance of simple, thoughtful actions in ensuring the comfort, health and safety of folks in a community.

Sure, we should, as concerned citizens and caretakers of our earth, be working toward mitigating global warming. There is no doubt that climate change is real and threatens future generations. We absolutely must tackle global warming!

But right here and right now, we must also address the difficult and dangerous consequences of extreme weather on every one of us. Almost no one will be comfortable in the weather conditions predicted for this week. Some will fare much worse. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are potentially life-threatening and especially dangerous if you're very young, chronically ill or elderly.

Many communities have enacted policies and action plans that promote "resiliency" to protect citizens from the day-to-day effects of climate change. Resiliency planning may include encouraging easy and informal practices like checking in with elderly neighbors, letting kids on the block run through your sprinkler, offering the woman next door an air-conditioned lift to the library.

Resiliency planning can also be formal, requiring taxpayer support and action by local government. Actions like opening civic buildings up as heat shelters, installing mist cooling stations, locating benches in shaded areas, placing splash pads in parks are a few of a multitude of possibilities.

Resiliency as a guiding concept is addressed in the Red Wing 2040 process and is defined as "the capacity to survive, adapt and grow despite any everyday stresses and periodic shocks."

I look forward to seeing concrete action steps as the new plan is completed. We need resiliency planning in Red Wing.

And we need good neighbors to invite folks to cool down in their pool!

Marilyn Meinke

Red Wing

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