American Planning Association welcomes Climate Ready Communities!
It was standing room only for every single session in the Climate Resilience track at the 2019 National Planning Conference in mid-April. Every single session. Some sessions got so crowded that conference organizers began posting safety notices asking people not to stand in the back or sit on the floor. But the notices were routinely ignored as planners poured into sessions focused on how to integrate climate change considerations into their everyday work for communities of all size.
The popularity of the climate sessions underscores what we are seeing in professional societies across the nation as climate impacts become much more obvious and the need to take action more urgent. Planners are looking for help navigating climate science resources, engaging their elected officials and residents around the issue, and identifying sound investments in climate adaptation for their communities. It was the first time we introduced our soon to be launched Climate Ready Communities program to the planning community, and we found that many planners are in the difficult spot of knowing they need to take action, but not having the expertise to do it alone or the money to hire for consultant help.
One woman approached our table certain that she and her four friends were the only people in her city in Alabama who were concerned about climate change. She believed there was no way for her to get started on climate in her community. It was a fabulous feeling to be able to reassure her that she wasn’t alone and then to offer free materials to help her get started right away, not only with building climate resilience for her community, but also with finding other supportive people in her town.
Anyone, anywhere can get started building climate resilience. That’s the motto of our Climate Ready Communities program. We were heartened by the warm welcome we received by the planners and are eager to continue refining our new program to make it easier for them to serve their communities when it comes to responding to climate change.