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“The Daily Show” features Duluth, Minnesota in cheeky video about climate refuge cities

By Mackenzie Lofgren

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    DULUTH, Minnesota (WCCO) — Duluth is cold, that’s no secret to anyone who lives in Minnesota.

But for people like “The Daily Show” correspondent Michael Kosta, the rumors didn’t do the city justice. In fact, it’s hard for him to stop commenting on the cold throughout the six minute and 43-second video segment.

But as Kosta later points out, perhaps the cold is part of the city’s charm — or at least one of its super powers when it comes to climate change resistance.

He recently spent a day in the city to learn more about why climate scientists are pinpointing it as a possible safe haven from climate change.

Kosta started his trip talking with Mindy Granley, Duluth’s chief sustainability officer.

“Experts have called Duluth a climate refuge because we’re a place that’s fairly safe from the worst effects of climate change,” said Granley.

She later points out that the effects of climate change are already pushing people towards Duluth, many of whom are escaping climate-impacted states like California.

That’s in part to the natural resources that surround Duluth. For example, 10% of the world’s drinking water comes from Lake Superior and there’s enough space in the area to accommodate up to 10,000 new residents.

Despite these benefits, Kosta wonders aloud to Granley if people knew the alternative to fighting climate change was moving to Duluth, then maybe they’d take climate change more seriously.

To which Granley responds, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Kosta later takes to the streets where he interviews residents about their thoughts and feelings to a potential “migrant caravan of Californians” coming to Duluth with their “spin instructors, kombucha, and oat milk.”

However, Duluthians — or as Kosta charmingly refers to as “Dulutherans” — are ready to embrace newcomers with open arms.

Californian expat, environmentalist and Duluth resident, Jamie Alexander, told Kosta that it was the “realness” of Duluth’s neighborly charm that was a factor in her moving her family here.

“We packed into a camper van, thinking we were going to drive out here and spend the summer, and then the wildfire season of 2020 happened and I decided to move my family here because of climate change,” said Alexander. “I love it here. I want to live in a place where it feels real. Here, you’re connected to your neighbors. Everywhere is going to experience climate impacts. If a climate-related weather event happened would you be able to lean on your neighbors?”

Kosta wrapped up his visit to Duluth with a Minnesotan rite of passage— a polar plunge at Cedar & Stone Nordic Sauna.

While we hope Kosta returns to Duluth for another visit (this time with a winter coat), it’s important to remember that even though Duluth may be slower to the effects of climate change right now, it isn’t going to stay that way forever.

“The idea that there’s like a climate-proof city is A) not true at all, and B) is dangerous because every place on Earth is already experiencing climate impacts,” said Alexander.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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