Climate change has arrived in Minnesota. It’s already having an impact on our state’s lands, waters, wildlife and people. And while we’re far from the rising seas, we’re still seeing the effects of climate change locally in the form of drought and dying trees, extreme weather and flooding events.
Tackling climate change in Minnesota will be a big lift, and it will also require using every tool at our disposal.
Nature-based solutions —things like reforestation, cover cropping and rain gardens—are under-utilized strategies we can implement now to capture more carbon. Protecting and restoring floodplains, grasslands and wetlands stores more carbon in the ground and helps reduce flooding. Growing the number of farms that adopt conservation practices such as reduced tillage improves water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
How can nature help us tackle climate change? The answer is simple. It’s photosynthesis. Forests, grasslands, wetlands and even farm fields can play a big role in taking in carbon dioxide and other pollutants and storing them in living branches, roots and soil. And the best part? These nature-based solutions to climate change can also dramatically improve Minnesotans’ quality of life in the process. Some of the benefits of investing in nature include cleaner water and air, improved habitat for wildlife, better opportunities for outdoor recreation, and of course, the physical, mental and psychological benefits that naturally come with increased exposure to nature.
We know that thinking about and working on climate issues is hard and at times can be daunting. But we also know that taking action is a powerful remedy for climate anxiety and it can make a huge difference in Minnesota. Do your part by planting trees in your own yard, speaking up for nature by signing up along with thousands of others who have joined The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota in learning about and advocating for natural climate solutions. Visit nature.org/treeswatersoil to learn about nature-based solutions, read stories about Minnesotans taking climate action for nature and be inspired to take action in support of a sustainable future for us all.