Attending open house a good way to learn about climate change

Some people swear climate change is happening while others don’t believe it.

In what category do you fall?

If you want to learn more about the issue, consider attending the discussion of the Marquette Area Climate and Health Adaptation Plan at an open house set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Marquette Township Community Center.

The Climate Adaptation Task Force was formed to prepare local leaders and the public to think proactively about the effects of climate change. Another purpose was to create strategies to make the Upper Peninsula more resilient and effective when dealing with those effects, which can come in the form of fires, floods and severe weather events.

Skeptics beware: The effort is based on the assumption climate change is real and will impact the area, although not all participants need to agree on the basic underlying causes of climate change.

They also don’t have to agree on an overall solution. The point is to get the community thinking about resiliency and handling the consequences of climate change.

The public will have the chance Tuesday to review recently released guidebooks created to steer how the plan is put into action. Community members also may give input on what they think are the most important local infrastructure interventions.

One guidebook deals with stakeholder engagement and visual design imaging, and establishes the communitys concerns and priorities as expressed by stakeholder groups. It details current and potential future images of vulnerable locations in Marquette and surrounding areas to visualize how the “built environment” could be redesigned to address climate-related public health concerns.

The other focuses on policy and metric recommendations, and includes descriptions of potential policy tools that could stimulate adaptive community planning and the implementation of the built environment.

Following feedback and follow-up work, a third guidebook will be developed to outline the plan’s implementation.

Being proactive, regardless of personal beliefs about the topic, is prudent. Even if climate change is just a theory, taking measures to handle weather events, for example, should come in handy when the inevitable storm hits.

We also applaud the effort to get public input on the issue. Even professionals can learn from ideas brought forth from people more familiar with a particular community.

As with many potential disaster scenarios, people and municipalities shouldn’t be caught off guard and be unequipped to handle such challenging situations.