More communities (cities and counties) are integrating strategies into their comprehensive plans to be more sustainable and resilient to changing environments. These environments range greatly and can cover topics such as solar energy, food access, emergency preparedness, changing economies, and climate change. General definitions for these terms include:
Resiliency: Resiliency is defined as the ability to adapt to or recover from change.
Sustainability: Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.
The term “resiliency” can also be linked to a community’s ability to respond to natural disasters and public health crises. Many counties have adopted Emergency Preparedness Plans to address natural disasters. Stearns County’s Emergency Management Division is responsible for the development of community based plans and programs to maintain a state of readiness to meet natural, man-made, and technological disasters on a local or countywide basis.
Preparedness is one of the largest components of emergency management. As a function this is all the action we can take to prepare ourselves for any number of threats or hazards we may face in our local communities.
Preparedness is a partnership between people who live and work in the community as well as local government. As residents it is important to take action such as developing emergency plans for home, work, and in the car. As local government we focus on developing emergency plans, training personnel, and conducting drills and exercises to test our plans to best ensure they are complete and ready for use when emergencies happen.
The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee worked on ways to integrate sustainability and resiliency themes throughout this plan. Climate change was a particular area of interest as it relates to the County’s natural resources and agricultural activities. The Agricultural Pillar has embraced a policy area that addresses crop diversity as a potential adaptation/mitigation measure in adapting to an increase in extreme weather events.