The Climate Ready Communities team recently joined the excitement at the 4th National Adaptation Forum (NAF), the largest gathering of the climate adaptation community in North America that takes place every 2 years. It’s inspiring to be part of such a vibrant, diverse and motivated group. The numbers are not yet published for 2019, but it definitely felt like the largest attendance yet!
“We have been coming to NAF since its inception, and it is amazing how the conference has matured and changed over time. I remember the first year was focused on models and science. Now we’re talking about equity and inclusion, not just for communities, but for the adaptation field as well. And we’re talking about how to share what is working and not working so we can learn from each other. It’s exciting to be part of such a new and dynamic field.” Marni Koopman
The top themes at NAF2019 included tribal adaption, equitable adaptation, communication and engagement, indicators and monitoring, and actionable climate science, among others. There were over 100 sessions during the 3 day event.
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.
The Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP) is a cross-sector partnership working to promote climate adaptation and mitigation strategies across the expansive Sierra Nevada region of California. Sierra CAMP, one of seven regional climate collaboratives in the state and a member of the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), is a program of Sierra Business Council. Sierra CAMP convenes a diverse group of public, private, and nonprofit entities including the Town of Truckee, U.S. Forest Service Region V, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Ski Industry Association, California Forestry Association, Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council, and the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment.
Corinth is a city of 20,000 people located 20 miles north of Dallas. Over the last two years, local leaders in Corinth have become increasingly alarmed about the impact of changing climate conditions on their community and economy.
Corinth’s primary impacts from climate change are 1) extreme heat and 2) drought; these threats are affecting the health, safety and quality of life of Corinth’s residents and the sustainability of natural systems.
The City learned of the Geos Institute’s Climate Ready Communities program at the annual International City/County Managers Association conference in October 2017 and soon signed on as a beta tester. Patrick Hubbard, the Development Coordinator for the City’s Planning and Development Department, led the review team for Corinth.
Yes!! And actually we MUST have fun from time to time. It’s psychology – our brains are hardwired to help us avoid long-term pain and suffering and to instead seek pleasure and enjoyment. If we want to stay in the fight against climate change, we have to figure out how to enjoy doing it.
Unfortunately, many climate events are depressing. It’s the nature of the topic. Those of us who stare down the impacts of climate change on a daily basis know that we are facing a grim future if massive collective action is not taken very soon. But most people are not staring down climate change on a daily basis – and these are the people we need to help take action.
California leads the nation in both requiring climate change adaptation action by local communities as well as supporting local leaders so they can be effective in taking that action. Our team headed to Sacramento for the three day conference hoping to not only share our Climate Ready Communities program, but also to hear what new innovations are being developed in California that could be used elsewhere.
The fires and mudslides in California are confirming what we have known for several years in the adaptation field – people who are already struggling due to low-income, systemic racism, disability, and language barriers are hit the hardest by climate disruption and have a harder time recovering. This fact is putting a fine point on the need to integrate these under-resourced communities into the adaptation planning process so that their needs can be fully met through community action.
We were also reminded that these communities, while struggling, are also incredibly resilient and have something to bring to the solutions table. Adaptation frameworks and processes and the people who run them need to avoid the sense that these people need to be saved. They have been saving themselves for a very long time. What they need from adaptation processes is an acknowledgement that more resources will need to be invested in their concerns in order to have an equitable outcome across a community. Then they need to be equal partners at the table.
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Phone: Geoff Weaver at 541-482-4459, ext 305 or 503-781-7888