Climate Action Across the Country – Vermont, Louisiana, and Michigan
This month we are focusing on states that are building both mitigation and adaptation programs (Read about NC, WI, MT). Climate disasters are becoming more frequent and widespread across the entire U.S. Local leaders are struggling with the economic and social impacts from increased wildfires, flooding, sea level rise, drought and more. And these impacts only add to the fear, confusion, and exacerbated injustice in many communities. It is no wonder that so many are looking for ways to adapt and mitigate. Within the US Climate Alliance, there are numerous states that are championing resilience, and doing so with concerted climate action.
In 2020, the VT legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act and set up the Energy Action Network to implement the Act’s requirements regarding GHG emissions reductions. This Network brings together over 200 constituents from government departments, nonprofits, universities, businesses and public agencies. In addition, the state launched the Vermont Climate Council, with a Rural Resilience & Adaptation Subcommittee, to create the state’s Climate Action Plan. The University of Vermont is deeply engaged in climate action with their Extension Program on Farming & Climate Change, their Gund Institute for Environment, plus the VT Clean Cities Coalition. The Resilient Vermont Network is being managed by Norwich University’s Center for Global Resilience. These state level mitigation and adaptation programs are supported at the ground level by both the VT Community Action Partnership and the VT League of Cities & Towns.
Hurricanes and flooding in recent years are threatening the coastline communities of Louisiana. With a vision focused on resilience, Governor John Edwards is working proactively with the oil and gas sector to address GHG emissions and improve coastal resilience and has appointed a Chief Resilience officer to oversee interdepartmental adaptation work. A Coastal Master Plan is under construction within the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority. The First People’s Conservation Council, which brings together elders and advisors from 5 tribes, is engaged in the Coastal Master Planning process. LA State University is supporting the state with the Coastal Sustainability Studio, a unique program to research, design solutions, engage the government and the community, and educate on the issues of innovative solutions for coastal ecosystem resilience. The LA Environmental Action Network is an active community watchdog providing frontline community advocacy on legislation and policy development.
In addition to joining the US Climate Alliance, Michigan’s Governor Whitmer is also using Executive Orders to jumpstart the state’s climate efforts by establishing an interdepartmental Council on Climate Solutions, setting GHG emissions levels, and creating the MI Healthy Climate Plan. Gov. Whitmer also repurposed the Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to coordinate and collaborate both mitigation and adaptation efforts within the state efforts. The University of Michigan and MI State University are collaborating via the Graham Sustainability Institute to provide research and public education on climate. The University of MI Extension Service is also an active voice in the community, providing education and resources on climate change issues. On the ground, the MI Climate Action Network, MI Green Communities, and the MI Municipal League represent hundreds of local groups, businesses, cities, towns, and communities that are actively working on both mitigation and adaptation efforts. Even without a supportive legislature, Michigan is making serious efforts to build resilience all across the state.
What else is happening?
If we missed anything or you have more information about state-specific climate action you want us to be aware of, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.