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We need a climate action plan

What kind of town do you want to live in? Perhaps our town already has some of the things you picture, such as safe neighborhoods, quality schools, a beautiful river running through it, and good coffee and ice cream. We also have a stellar library, ice hockey rinks, historic character, and a surprisingly good hospital. I’m sure we could list more.

And yet all of this Stillwater goodness is under big threat.

Climate change has been scientifically proven and is not just fueling intense hurricanes on the gulf coast and forest fires in California. It is impacting Minnesota, and it is impacting the St. Croix Valley, and it threatens us right here where we live.

Climate change is like football. It is both amazingly complex and also pretty simple. Football needs multiple coaches, even at the high school level. It requires sophisticated body protection, a scoreboard and goalposts, measuring equipment, trained referees, turf tending, and field painting. It demands that players remember plays and execute specialized duties. Football is a complex battlefield. But anyone can sum it up in one phrase: “You gotta move the ball down the field.”

Meteorologists can teach us all kinds of complexities about climate change, but the science is it'spretty simple: too much carbon in our atmosphere = too much trapped heat = havoc for our weather patterns. In Stillwater that means shorter winters, less predictable snowfall, and wilder temperature swings, such as -20F one day to 39F the next. It means bigger swings in precipitation too – so that we may face weeks of drought followed by super rainstorms with flood runoff that doesn’t refill aquifers. It also means impacts from thousands of miles away, like air so noxious from wildfires that we have to hunker inside for days. We are tearing apart the fabric of our world. We have to stop burning carbon fuels.

73% of Washington County residents are aware that climate change is happening, and the Minnesota Farmers’ Union recently named climate resiliency as its number one priority. So now, when you picture the town you want to live in, it has to include doing our part to end climate change. We must picture a Stillwater that is sustainable. What are your city leaders doing to address climate change? You can ask them yourself. Go to and ask your city council member to create a climate action plan for our town.


Gazette Editorial July 2023

Buff Grace,, 651-323-3167

Sustainable Stillwater MN | Board Member

Sustainable Stillwater MN is a 501c3 nonprofit tasked with making the Greater Stillwater Area more green, sustainable, and resilient.

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