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Resilient communities are those that are able to predict, prepare, and respond to change in a positive manner. As local and global conditions change more rapidly, communities will need to keep up. Many local governments are currently undertaking the task of building resilience at the local level, and best practices and lessons learned are coming out of these efforts.

While based on the Whole Communities Resilience framework developed by our ClimateWise® team, this guide also distills what has been learned from many different approaches that have been tested throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is intended to support all local communities in their efforts to build resilience, but particularly those with more limited resources, capacity, and/or expertise. This guide provides detailed instructions on how to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop resilience strategies with limited assistance. With our optional subscription service, you will also receive helpful tutorials, templates, an online support community, and expert consultations. There may be specific steps that are more difficult to complete without assistance, so we also provide information on where to get the help you need.

The reason we created this guide and support program is because we want all communities to succeed in understanding the changes ahead and being prepared, regardless of politics or capacity. In our 10 years of work helping local communities, we have learned how confusing all of the different steps and resources can be for those who are not familiar with them (and even those who are!). We want you to be supported, have our extensive knowledge at your fingertips, and feel confident that the steps you are taking will provide positive and long-lasting results for your community..

Who We Are

The Geos Institute has spent nearly 10 years helping communities and natural resource managers develop climate resilience plans. We are a team of experienced climate adaptation planners, scientists, GIS analysts, and engagement experts. We have the scientific expertise and communications experience to bring sound science into local planning, and to lead communities to develop climate resilience strategies for both people and nature. Learn more about our team.

Who Should Use This Guide

If you are responsible for developing a climate adaptation or resilience plan for your city, town, county, or tribe and anticipate that you need to do some or all of the work yourself, this guide is for you.

We know how hard it can be to develop a climate resilience plan and get it implemented, especially if you are doing it in a community that is uncomfortable acknowledging the reality of climate change and the need to take immediate action. Even in communities with strong support for climate action, many people are unsure how to get started, what tools to use, and how to get the work done within a tight budget. This guide will walk you through the steps to climate resilience. It can also serve as a good reference document if you intend to hire outside consultants to do the work. In that case, the RFP guidance in Appendix A may be particularly helpful to you.

If You Need More Support

The guide is intended to be a standalone, do-it-yourself resource. However, getting assistance for certain steps of the process can help you move more quickly and allow you to focus on the activities that you are already good at. Local city or county staff often find they need help engaging the public effectively, sorting through data and model projections, or planning effective workshops. In order to serve these needs, we have developed the Climate Ready Communities* subscription service that includes:

  • Tutorials for each step in the guide
  • Templates designed to help you complete each step
  • A monthly 60 minute live call-in forum to hear a brief topical update and and ask questions specific to your situation
  • An on-line community forum
  • 2 hours of phone consulting per year

In addition to the basic service, you will have the option to purchase a range of affordable add-on services. These services include:

  • Blocks of additional consulting time with our team
  • Local climate change projections and enhanced media presentations for community outreach
  • On-site facilitation for workshops to help the community develop vulnerability assessments and climate resilience strategies
  • Final report writing using the output of workshops and taskforce meetings
  • Pre-recorded webinars on climate and resilience-related topics with a live Q&A for team recruitment and orientation or general public outreach.

If you need expertise or a service for your process that is not offered through our program, we can help you find it. Read more information about our services.