Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), in partnership with the American Society for Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), has announced a new program to enhance climate adaptation in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast. Leading with Equity in Adaptation Practice (LEAP) aims to strengthen community-led climate change adaptation initiatives through partnerships, collaboration, and capacity-building. Alongside partners, ASAP and HARC will collaborate over the next three years to recruit, train, and support teams in the region as they implement community-led adaptation projects.
“Climate change disproportionally impacts the most vulnerable communities across Texas and along the Gulf Coast,” said John Hall, HARC’s President and CEO. “Communities need tools and resources to adapt to and prepare for the accelerating change in our climate. Program leaders need science-based research to effect change for a more sustainable, cooperative, and equitable future. LEAP aims to provide community leaders with the right tools and information to become more effective in the communities they serve.”
Over the past two decades, Texas has been hit by billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, more so than any other state. Based on NOAA estimates, these disasters have cost Texas between 235 and 500 billion USD. The densely populated Gulf Coast is vulnerable to hurricanes, storm surges, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and flooding. The number of 100+ degree heat days is expected to double in the coming decades where Texas cities are hotspots due to the urban heat island effect. Rainfall becomes less predictable and more intense, causing more frequent floods and extended droughts. All trends point in the direction of growing climate impacts in Texas.
“Equitable and effective climate change adaptation and climate resilience projects are community-owned, center local priorities, and guided by residents’ lived experience,” explains Beth Gibbons, Executive Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). “LEAP builds a bridge between community leaders and climate adaptation professionals laying the foundation for more equitable and just climate adaptation in the Upper Gulf Coast.”
The LEAP Program will support adaptation projects based on lived experiences of climate impacts in the Gulf of Mexico. This summer, HARC and ASAP will recruit 30 community leaders and 30 climate adaptation professionals to work together to design and implement six adaptation projects. Participants will learn together, build understanding and trust, undertake local projects, and build a stronger, more diverse network of adaptation professionals. Communities will gain access to locally relevant adaptation resources and tools to better understand current and future climate impacts under different climate scenarios, with particular emphasis on critical infrastructure and natural habitats.
A search is currently underway for community-based organizations interested in supporting community leader identification for the program, and for a consultant to align program design and materials with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles. For more information, please visit HARCresearch.org.
HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, water and climate issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, visit HARCresearch.org or connect via Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP) connects and supports climate adaptation professionals to advance innovation and excellence in the field of climate change adaptation. ASAP members are building essential climate resilience for communities, ecosystems, and economies. ASAP helps them strengthen their professional network, exchange best practices and practical advice, and accelerate innovation – all leading to a more equitable and effective climate adaptation practice. Are you thinking about how climate change impacts your work? Then join ASAP to get essential resources and services. Connect with us today via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and check out our recent programming on YouTube.