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Bloomington reaches out to community with survey about climate change issues



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A girl stands among other student activists Sept. 20 in Dunn Meadow during the Bloomington Climate Strike. The city announced Feb. 6 that Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development will invite residents to participate in an online survey regarding climate-related risks to the community. Matt Begala

Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development is inviting residents to participate in an online survey to help the city identify climate-related risks to the community and risks to Monroe County, the city announced Feb. 6.

According to Bloomington’s 2018 Sustainability Action Plan some climate-related risks include increased heat stroke due to higher temperatures, respiratory illness due to poorer air quality and an increased number of ticks and mosquitoes carrying vector-borne illnesses.

Lauren Travis, the assistant director for sustainability for the department, said the survey will help community members be able to express to the city how climate change affects their lives.

“It's just an initial way to get people involved that may not always be present at city meetings or just want to be involved with something that's very quick capacity and just getting a broader range of attitudes and opinions across the community and also the conversation around climate change,” Travis said.

The survey is confidential and takes about five to 10 minutes to complete, according to a press release from the City of Bloomington. It asks survey respondents questions concerning changes in weather and health-related issues that may be a direct effect from climate change. Later this year, residents will be able to give feedback on the action taken.

Travis said the survey is part of a larger process of climate change adaptations that will take about 10 months. 

In 2018, Bloomington started developing its Sustainability Action Plan, which laid out the framework for the city’s five-year plan. Part of this plan was to focus on climate change and the threats it has on the community.

The plan also includes initiatives for transportation, waste, water, ecosystem health and local food and agriculture.

Climate change and adaptation is the first part of this plan and lays out what the city is already planning to do to address climate threats such greenhouse gas emissions. 

Travis said one of the priorities in this plan was climate threats such as high heat for sustained periods leading to increased flooding and how to reduce the impacts of those threats.

The Environmental Commission of Bloomington assists the city on environmental policy issues such as climate change. Suzannah Evan Comfort, a member of the commission, said nothing is being done about climate change on a federal level and it’s up to the state and city to decide whether they want to focus on it or not. 

“Even though Bloomington is a small city, we can be a role model of other cities our size to reduce our overall impact on climate threats,” Evans Comfort said.

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