Investing in nature pays big dividends in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the fastest-warming states in the United States. The state has already heated up, on average, 3 degrees Fahrenheit. That change is already having an enormous impact on our waters, lands, wildlife and on people.

The impacts of climate change touch down in all parts of our state, from food production and transportation to winter recreation and tourism. We are seeing impacts today, including a severe drought that slowed down barge traffic on the Mississippi River and shorter ice fishing seasons. We are experiencing more frequent and intense storms than ever before.

And the wide-ranging consequences of climate change will only become more severe over time if we do not act now.

Flooding is expected to worsen. Increased runoff will pollute our waters and exacerbate erosion. Algae blooms are likely to increase, affecting fishing and swimming. Pest-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus, could become more prevalent, and warmer temperatures may lengthen the allergy season. Extreme heat may harm public health and crop yields.

“Climate change is already impacting everything in society, including the business sector,” says Ann Mulholland, director of The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota. “We have to take action. Nature is an underappreciated asset and one on which we should capitalize.”

Investing in nature not only helps us tackle climate change by reducing emissions and making the state more resilient to the effects of warmer and wetter weather, but it also provides additional benefits for people, nature and our economy.

Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration and improved land management actions—which together can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage and improve the quality of life for millions of Minnesotans.

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