Calls on Mayor to attend climate events
Local students of Louisville and people from across the globe came together in unison to spread awareness of the seriousness of climate change. These youth range from 15 years-old to 17 years-old and explained how they feel helpless when they are at school and are not able to make a difference in relation to the climate crisis. Not only students attended the march, but also various politicians, teachers, and other advocates from around the world, including countries like Sweden, France, and Turkey. Students missed out on class that day to convince Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to attend various climate events around the world.
Our ClimateWise team has been working closely with the Louisville Metro Government's Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability to develop a climate adaptation plan for the region. Our process has involved government officials, department and agency staff, local non profits, other key stakeholders, and the general public. Working together with Climate Access, a leading organization in the field of climate change communications, our process has included significant public engagement and one on one interviews with leaders around the Louisville Metro area.
Throughout this process we have heard so many participants talk about their children or grandchildren as motivations for doing this work. It's common for us to hear reference to the next generation and leaving the world a safe and healthy place to live for younger people. All of this is true and important work, and it's just as important to make sure youth are actively included in the planning processes directly. There's nothing quite like the hope and passion and optimism of youth to get a group of adults thinking more creatively!
We're proud to have been on part of Louisville's journey and even more proud of the youth in the community who are demanding action, taking a stand, and getting involved. Now it's up to us to make sure they have a place to sit when they show up to the table.
Building Resiliency in Missoula County
Missoula County, the City of Missoula and Climate Smart Missoula, a local climate focused non-profit have worked together over the past 18 months on a climate resilience planning process they christened Climate Ready Missoula.
The process was “inspired by, and generally followed, the guidelines of the Geos Institute's Climate Ready Communities program.” This is one of the first county level climate resilience plans that has been completed using the Climate Ready Communities Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience, which was released in 2018. The plan and prior documents (Climate and Community Primer, Vulnerability Assessment) created by the Missoula team showcase many of the core approaches suggested in the Guide; within the Guide’s framework, the team shaped the process and documents as needed for local requirements and added innovations such as the 12 Guiding Principles “to guide the process of prioritizing and implementing the climate adaptation goals and actions”.
The plan has been approved by the Missoula Consolidated Planning Board as of March 3 and will be reviewed in a county and city joint public hearing of City Council and the Board of County Commissioners on April 6. Assuming it’s approved there, an implementation team will then be formed to begin tackling the plan’s priority strategies and actions.
Access the plan here, and the Climate Ready Missoula website here, where you can find links to the other documents as well.
Geos Institute led a working group with the American Society of Adaptation Professionals to develop official comments to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis regarding where investments should be made to strengthen climate resilience. The Committee put out the call for suggestions for actions it can take now and in the future to move federal climate policy forward at the national level.
Read the official comments
After a year of advocacy from climate change organizations across the country, the federal government released Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment late last year.
The National Climate Assessment is made up of two volumes. The first is a science report - very dry and nearly incomprehensible for local governments. For them, the important part is the second report, which assesses the impacts of climate change on resources and populations around the country.
In late 2017 a strategy session was held in Washington DC by organizations working to protect the National Climate Assessment from the climate deniers in the Trump Administration.
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.
Our team is seeing an increasing number of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) coming from local governments across the nation seeking help building climate resilience. It’s great to see this forward motion for community-based climate resilience!
At the same time, we recognize that in many cases these community leaders and government staff need guidance if they are to include the critical components of adaptation planning and implementation in their Requests for Proposals (RFPs). As a field we are not at the point where there is a credential system and the process of climate resilience planning is still new for local government professionals.
The Climate Ready Communities program provides an assisted do-it-yourself option for small-medium sized communities that don’t have the resources to hire a consultant or the technical capacity to do the planning entirely by themselves.
November 30 marks the completion of the Climate Ready Communities pilot program. We are glad to report that during these first 6 months of operation, our pilot communities have begun their resilience planning processes by utilizing our Annual Support services, website, and other resources alongside the Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience.
Many of us approached November 6 with bated breath knowing that our ability to address climate change would be affected radically by the results of elections not only for Congress, but also state governorships and legislatures.
It was a good night.
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.
Our ClimateWise team recently worked with the United Nations Environment Program North America and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative to coordinate a roundtable discussion between mayors along the river and the insurance industry.
This meeting took place between 23 Mississippi River mayors and leaders from the global and North American insurance industry. Other key stakeholders from federal agencies, foundations, and resilience organizations joined with them to discuss how to reduce vulnerability and build resilience to natural disasters within the Mississippi River corridor.