California Adaptation Daily Digest

Daily Digest
powered by:

Carbon Farming | Energy Resilience | Water Justice | Hazard-Mitigation Planning | Equitable Planning | Financing Adaptation | Future Funding | MPO Involvement | Statewide Implementation | LA Heat & Equity | Long-range Planning | LeadersCollaboration | Bridging the Gap | Stronger by Nature | Green Careers | Integrating Resilience | Natural InfrastructureEconomic ImpactsEquitable Adaptation | Agricultural Resiliency | Climate Messages | Traditional Knowledge | Vulnerability Assessments | Coastal Adaptation

From Pilots to Big Bold Visions: Rapid Scaling of Carbon Farming 

By Hoi-Fei Mok, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

Carbon farming is occurring across the California and is particularly robust in Santa Barbara County where pilot projects are moving quickly towards implementation with the help of ranchers, NGOs, state and federal agencies, and universities. Perspectives were heard from all of these partners and some next steps were laid out for the process.

The panelists in this session described carbon farming, from regulatory background to case studies and implementation. Anne Coates, Executive Director of Cachuma Resource Conservation District, gave an overview of resource conservation districts and their contributions to resource management. Specifically, she highlighted that resource conservation districts can be a flexible and adaptable player in working on multiple projects in natural resource management. Russel Chamberlin, Rancher and Landowner on Ted Chamberlin Ranch, discussed the pilot study at his family ranch with the rancher-to-rancher program on carbon sequestration. His experience has shown that applying 1/4-inch compost on 15% of available land in Santa Barbara County (40,000 acres) will meet the county’s target for GHG offsets. Sigrid Wright, the CEO and Executive Director at the Community Environmental Council, laid out the steps from pilot to big vision for compost application in Santa Barbara County. Aeron Arlin Genet, Air Pollution Control Officer for Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, described the CAPCOA greenhouse gas reduction exchange platform.

Advancing Local Energy Resilience Through Community Engagement

By Arya Moalemi, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

This session provided an overview of programs being implemented throughout California to promote energy efficiency on a variety of scales: local, grassroots organizations, local utilities districts, and statewide investor-owned utilities agencies. The workshop introduced attendees to programs that specifically work to promote energy efficiency in communities and in households. These strategies came from a wide range of places highlighting cool roofs and solar panels, behavior change strategies (i.e. turning off lights and appliances), local festivals, and creating statewide competitions. Research suggested that emissions from natural gas were much higher than expected, making the real levels much more than known. Currently, with the transition away from oil and coal, however, natural gas still plays a strong role, despite the fact that it is a fossil fuel.

Wither the Water?: Community Organizing for Justice and Resilience to the Water-Related Impacts of Climate Change  

By Hoi-Fei Mok, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

A diverse panel of organizers and researchers described water justice issues across California and community building projects that develop the capacity and leadership of community members. Angela Mooney D’Arcy, Executive Director of Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, shared the indigenous history of California and how policymakers should be engaging with indigenous nations. Terrie Green and Douglas Mundo, from Shore Up Marin, spoke about the adaptation issues facing Marin City and how Shore Up Marin leads the way with community planning for emergencies and climate justice. Tameeka Bennett, the Executive Director for Youth United for Community Action, described the water issues facing East Palo Alto, both in flooding and lack of potable water supply. Amanda Fencl, a Ph.D. Student at UC Davis, discussed how research could add to understanding the impact of climate change on drinking water quality and the human stories behind this.

Integrating Climate Change into Hazard-Mitigation Planning

By Bree Swenson, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow  

Incorporating climate change and adaptation practices into local hazard-mitigation planning is incredibly important, and this session discussed how best to do this by addressing equity and actively encouraging community engagement in every step of the process. Missy Stults, Program Officer and Doctoral Candidate at The Climate Resilience Fund and University of Michigan, and Juliette Hayes, Risk Analysis Branch Chief for FEMA, led a dynamic and engaging discussion on integrating climate change into local hazard mitigation plans. There are over 22,000 hazard mitigation plans in the U.S., but very few of them have actually addressed climate change. Incorporating climate change into these kinds of plans is an important opportunity for jurisdictions to start the climate change discussion. Hazard mitigation has to inform all plans and projects. Incorporation can also help integrate climate mitigation and adaptation actions throughout city agencies.

Community engagement is also important for hazard mitigation planning and climate adaptation. When the city of Baltimore was developing their hazard mitigation plan, they focused on community engagement, particularly in disadvantaged communities that would be the most impacted by the effects of climate change. They addressed the different reasons why people in these communities could not often attend city events and provided an important space for discussion in these communities.

Place-based Equitable Climate Planning in Environmental-Justice Communities

By Natalie Hernandez, University of Southern California – Master of Planning Student 

What did four community-based environmental justice organizations do to incorporate climate resilience? The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and Jurupa Valley worked together to create an environmental justice element in their general plan: a moratorium on warehouses, restricted truck routes, and more air filters in the community. Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) and South LA created the LA Equity Alliance to talk about issues that interact with climate resilience such as green space. They are also looking to create a neighborhood hub as a “resilient center” where residents can go for resources on climate change adaptation. Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), in Wilmington and Richmond, has implemented a Climate Adaptation Resiliency, Enhancement (CARE) Program. This focuses on addressing four issue areas: extreme heat, sea level rise, health care services, and renewable energy access.                                                                                      

Financing Adaptation: Moving from Retail to Wholesale

By Gilee Corral, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow      

Transformation of the funding and financial space is necessary to respond to the demands of climate resilience planning. Participants learned about how the landscape of funding adaptation is changing to meet the challenges ahead. Kif Scheuer, the Climate Change Program Director with Local Government Commission, moderated the discussion on adaptation financing among leaders from the health care, energy financing, local government, and philanthropy sectors. Due to the immensity and complexity of climate change, the response creates a space for disruption in financing and deployment of solutions. From health care to philanthropy, leaders are transforming the retail model of thinking about adaptation into one of wholesale funding. Health care organizations and networks are transforming into utility providers to meet the energy and resilience needs of not only their centers but of surrounding community assets. Reflecting on modernizing LA’s grid and greening the power supply, panelist Nancy Sutley, the Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said “we are in the midst of a once-in-a-century transformation.” James Jewel, Vice President, Market Expansion and Policy at Renovate America, described the PACE program and suggested that PACE financing was filling a market gap in financing. PACE is a compliment to, rather than a replacement of, conventional financing for energy and water retrofits.

Green on Green: Financing and Funding for a Resilient Future

By Gilee Corral, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow      

This session focused on addressing the elephant in the room: limited funds and financing mismatches in adaptation planning. Susanne Moser, Director of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, led a panel discussion that challenged agencies to think out of the box about adaptation financing. Participants learned how to tap into nontraditional funding sources, such as a resilience bond to finance project costs and use more flexible grant funding to cover soft costs, such as planning and outreach. Resilience bonds price the insurance risk reduction from an infrastructure project, creating a nontraditional source of revenue for financing adaptation projects.

Jessica Grannis, Adaptation Program Manager at the Georgetown Climate Center, discussed how there was no single dedicated source of federal grant funding for adaptation. This required existing programs to be tapped to pay for adaptation initiatives. It also required local governments to work adaptation into piecemeal funding sources. Josh Brock, Director of Community Development at Renovate America, talked about how PACE financing programs help agencies further their adaptation goals without costing agencies money or using staff resources. These programs also served as data resources for agencies seeking metrics on the parcel level in their communities. Shalini Vajjhala, Founder & CEO for re:focus partners, noted that resilience bonds, a type of catastrophe bond, could connect municipalities seeking funding for adaptation projects with agencies looking to reduce insurance risk.

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) at the Adaptation Table

By Annika Ragsdale, CivicSpark/AmeriCorps Fellow

This panel focused on a common vision that regional agencies have: to build capacity for local communities to address climate adaptation. The discussion aimed at increasing audience awareness surrounding the actions of their MPO’s and influencing future coordination. Three MPO’s covered their agency’s actions to address climate adaptation at the local level. The Southern California Association of Governments and Sacramento Council of Governments representatives discussed the challenges they faced as they began weaving climate change adaptation into the framework of their MPO’s. The Bay Area and San Diego representatives opened up about the challenges their regions faced from the threat of sea level rise, and what they were doing to prepare. Moderator Grieg Asher, from the Southern California Association of Governments, pointed out the need for redundancy in resources in the face of climate change. He stressed the importance for all regions to consider shared resources and ensure there were contingency plans for asset impacts.

Turning Modeling and Planning into Action: Implementing Coastal Adaptation Statewide

By Mike Kloha, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

Coastal communities all throughout the state and country have become increasingly at risk of the impacts of sea level rise due to climate change. This has prompted many local and regional actors to begin devising implementation strategies through stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The panel consisted of three speakers who were directly involved with coastal adaptation work. David Lewis, Executive Director for Save the Bay, provided a case study of strategies used in the Bay Area by his organization. This served as a good example of a framework for other organizations to use in addressing coastal adaptation. Kelly Leo, the Coastal Project Director for The Nature Conservancy, spoke about effective ways to organize, collaborate, and engage with stakeholders. These discussions spurred interest in the audience about what they can do in their own communities, with questions arising on how to progress political will and implement solutions.

Taking it to the Streets – Addressing LA Heat and Equity        

By Carrie Metzgar, CivicSpark Fellow, City of Long Beach & ARCCA

Speakers from the Addressing LA Heat and Equity session provided insight on the impacts of extreme heat in the Los Angeles region. They identified the important role resiliency plays in helping to cope with the impacts of extreme heat as well as its co-benefits for improving livability. David Fink, Director of Campaigns with Climate Resolve, expressed, “resiliency is also about how we can better connect and create more equitable and more livable places for everyone.” Lauren Faber, from the Los Angeles Office of the Mayor, discussed the city’s cooling objectives to prepare and respond to extreme heat. Fernando Cazares, of The Trust for Public Land, showed the newly developed mapping tool for identifying urban heat island sports in the region. John Guevarra, of Investing in Place, shared his insight on how cooling streets and public spaces could also help to improve safety and equal access.

Adaptation as Standard Practice: Integrating Adaptation in Long-Range Planning

By Mike Kloha, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

Coastal resilience planning is generally a straightforward in process, but difficult in practice. The process involves modeling sea level rise, performing vulnerability assessments, developing policies, and then implementing those policies. This panel consisted of three local government professionals who experienced a diverse number of successes and challenges within their jurisdictions regarding adaptation planning. Common strategies for engagement included hosting workshops and community outreach events in order to showcase their sea level rise modeling assessments. Some of their jurisdictions were far more receptive than others. Huntington Beach seemed to be adamantly against adaptation planning unless residents could tangibly see how it affected them personally. This represented a common challenge that many city professionals statewide are facing with regards to climate action.

Seize the Day: You are the Leaders we Need

By Bree Swenson & Mackenzie Bolger, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellows

At the close of the California Adaptation Forum, participants were inspired to continue on in their work with new connections and partnerships across a myriad of fields and professions toward a more resilient future. The session kicked off with the Regional Adaptation Leadership Award presented to a very surprised Larry Greene, by Beth Gibbons, Managing Director at the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. Notable speakers at the session included the Chief Sustainability Officer of the City of Los Angeles, Matt Petersen; Robin Guenther of Perkins + WIll; and Andrea Marr of the Truman Center and Operation Free. LGC’s Kate Meis closed the plenary with a call for action across the state.

Read more about the Regional Adaptation Leadership Award, its runners-up and winner.

We’re All in This Together

By Beth Gibbons, ASAP Managing Director

Opening day of the California Adaptation Forum drove home the point that we all need to be working together to advance our work in the adaptation space. Unless we can collaboratively share research and expertise across sectors ­– from environmental justice and applied science to urban neighborhoods and rural farming communities ­– we will not be able to advance our field. Across the forum, speaker after speaker reiterated this message: we are better together!


Bridging the Gap

By Sascha Petersen, Co-founder and Executive Director of Adaptation International

A positive, optimistic, and action-oriented mood filled the first morning at CAF2016. In an early morning session led by three ASAP members (Sascha Petersen, Meredith Herr, and Nicola Hedge) almost 20 people from a diverse set of organizations including local, tribal, and federal government, universities, community organizations, and outreach groups, came together to discuss how to connect with community concerns and values to build resilience.

Everyone in the conversation was actively working hard to build resilience. They all were ready to be proactive, but faced similar engagement challenges and were working to bridge gaps across sectors and connect their messaging with various audiences. They openly shared their concerns and found more commonalities across their projects and efforts than differences.

Stronger by Nature: Solution to Capture Carbon and Build Resilience

By Hoi-Fei Mok, CivicSpark Fellow

This panel focused on restoring natural infrastructure to achieve cross-cutting adaptation and mitigation needs. It looked specifically at case studies presented from forestry, agriculture, and wetlands. Based on these case studies, the diverse panel discussed different techniques of utilizing natural infrastructure for both mitigation and adaptation needs.

Nancy Scolari, Executive Director of the Marin Resource Conservation District, spoke about compost application in Marin County, where application of compost led to significant increases in soil carbon, soil water capacity, and forage production. Even a one-time application of one-inch compost led to impacts lasting 30-100 years. After seeing these results from the initial study on compost application, a high number of farms signed up to participate in the research project.

Erik White, Air Pollution Control Officer with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, spoke about the need to support forest health and alternative biomass uses, and described how forest condition was critical to water supply quality and quantity, especially during times of drought.

Stephen Crooks, Principal at Wetland Science and Coastal Management, described how restoring wetlands had multiple co-benefits, from habitat diversity and connectivity, living levees, flood reduction, resilience to sea level rise, and carbon sequestration.

Green Career Pipelines for Climate Adaptation

By Arya Moalemi, CivicSpark Fellow

Organizations and agencies ranging from CivicSpark, the Department of Energy, and the American Society of Adaptation Professionals understand the need for help at the local and community level. These organizations provide man-power, information and resources, and network connections to assist local agencies’ adaptation and resilience measures.

The presenters representing those organizations on this panel led a lively discussion that outlined available resources for local governments, especially for programs that help to connect potential adaptation professionals to peers and transition to other careers. The presenters debunked the notion that organizations simply put information out in the world and that it’s the job of the public to find it. They claimed that adaptation information needed to be put where the seeker could find it with ease. As Beth Gibbons, ASAP Managing Director, pointed out, “A lot of people do adaptation work; they just don’t call it adaptation work.”

Integrating Climate Resilience into Projects, Asset Management, Capital Planning and Permitting

By Annika Ragsdale, CivicSpark Fellow

The Integrating Climate Resilience into Projects panel got to the core values of resiliency: vulnerability, community, action. Panelists presented their organizations’ efforts to grapple with climate change issues and discussed specific projects in which they had begun to address adaptation at a variety of scales, from individual facilities to the entire Port of Long Beach. Despite the difference in projects, each held common themes: determining climate vulnerability, the importance of community collaboration, and the significance of timely action.

The audience was particularly interested in the panelists’ feedback surrounding climate adaptation financing, implementation strategies, and the influence of adaptation on surrounding communities. Heather Rosenberg, Director of Building Resilience Los Angeles, introduced the concept of “span of impact” versus “span of influence,” which focuses on how the project has a greater impact on the surrounding community. Climate vulnerability assessments for projects typically analyze the span of impact. However, Rosenberg argued that both should be considered as to not overlook the greater sphere of influence any adaptation response may have. When discussing social equity and pieces of the resilient operations process, Rosenberg stated that “creating a team IS a resilience strategy.”

David Behar, Climate Program Director, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, presented on the vulnerability work underway in San Francisco, the methodology used, and the collaboration between key stakeholders. He stressed the need to consider broader impacts of each adaptation response and refrain from examining only one asset at a time.

Justin Luedy, Port of Long Beaches Environmental Specialist, Planning and Environmental Affairs, aimed to incorporate resiliency into the actions of the Port of Long Beach and was facilitating the creation of a Coastal Resiliency Plan. He advocated for timeliness and the importance of action as opposed to waiting for the best data or the “right” conditions.

Natural Infrastructure 101: A Guide to Implementing New Policies

By Hoi-Fei Mok, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

This panel gave an introductory discussion on natural infrastructure solutions to adaptation challenges. Moderator Alex Leumer provided a general definition of natural infrastructure in policy. Ellie Cohen, Executive Director of Point Blue, described the climate smart principles and examples of nature-based solutions that should be utilized in current climate action planning. Carmen Ramirez, Mayor Pro Tem in the city of Oxnard, CA, described the process to save the Ormond Beach wetlands in Oxnard. Edith de Guzman, Director of Research at Tree People, gave a case study from when TreePeople implemented green infrastructure in Elmer Street, Los Angeles, and described some key steps to the green infrastructure process.

One climate smart principle is the 10 percent rule: 10 percent of the time should be used to test and experiment new ideas. Even if there isn’t funding or explicit policy approving it yet, this is the time to go for it. Cohen noted climate smart principles included focusing on future conditions, designing actions in ecosystem context across multiple time/space scales, employing flexible adaptive approaches, prioritizing actions for multiple benefits, and collaborating and communicating across sectors.

Assessing the Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Perspective from City and State Government and the Private Sector

By Bree Swenson, CivicSpark Fellow

The session discussed evaluating the economic risks associated with climate change and using these assessments to create new opportunities for economic productivity. Aleka Seville, Director of Community Adaptation at Four Twenty Seven, moderated a discussion on the need for more action related to the economic impact of climate change. The session began with a look at a method of assessment on climate change economics from The Risky Business Project and transitioned to a detailed look at how the city of San Diego is considering the economic impact of climate change in its innovative climate mitigation and adaptation work. The session closed with a discussion of the beneficial ways the private sector could take climate change into account when planning for the future of their businesses and the economy as a whole.

Jamesine Rogers Gibson, Western States Climate Analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, discussed The Risky Business Project’s climate change risk assessment, which used a framework and language familiar to the business and finance sectors to identify climate risks in five sectors: coastal property, commodity agriculture, heat-related mortality, energy demand, and labor productivity. The assessment covered not only the most likely risks, but also tail risks, extremely high-cost but less likely risks.Cody Hoover, Chief Sustainability Officer of the city of San Diego, spoke about the great climate mitigation and adaptation work San Diego has planned in their new Climate Action Plan. Emilie Mazzacurati, Chief Executive Officer of Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions, spoke about the need for climate change to be considered and addressed in the private sector. She said, “Thinking about the economic impacts of climate change is a great way of figuring out how we want to tackle climate change.”

Afternoon Plenary: Equitable Adaptation: We Are All in This Together

By Gilee Corral, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

County of Los Angeles Supervisor Hilda Solis related her victories and struggles as a pioneer in environmental justice issues. Katie Valenzuela Garcia, Principal of Valenzuela Garcia Consulting,  moderated the panel of change-makers in the environmental justice space, and discussed what equity means in the context of climate adaptation and how communities most affected by climate change are speaking up for themselves. The panel noted that climate change is a “threat multiplier” and exacerbates the equity issues already faced by people of color and immigrant communities.

Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director with Asian Pacific Environmental Network, talked about how communities living at the center of the root causes of climate change are the ones coming up with solutions needed. “We can’t continue to force communities to choose between jobs and health, to choose between investments and mitigation, to choose between a thriving economy and the ability to live,” she said. Veronica Garibay, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability, talked about how inclusion was not just about getting those people to come to meetings. She emphasized that leading with equity would bring about the desired change.Finally, Diane Takvorian, Executive Director with Environmental Health Coalition, talked about the Governor’s transportation goals for 2030. She deemed them not possible without a drastic paradigm shift towards an expansion of the public transportation network.

Advancing Agricultural Resiliency, From the Ground Up

By Carrie Metzgareve, CivicSpark Fellow, City of Long Beach & ARCCA

The Advancing Agricultural Resiliency session brought to light the critical need to plan for adaptation on Californias agricultural lands. Adam Kotin of the California Climate and Agriculture Network expressed that farmers are on the climate frontlines. He advised looking at adaptation from the perspective of how to create and foster more agricultural resilient systems. Session participants gained insight into the importance of on-the-ground strategies and the need to address climate justice when planning for climate resilient agricultural areas.

The panel of passionate agricultural and climate leaders discussed the numerous climate change impacts California’s agricultural lands were facing and the implications these impacts will have on critical food systems. The speakers stressed the importance of smart land use planning, innovative resource management, and on-the-ground adaptation strategies. One of the highlights of the session was a discussion highlighting the need to integrate equity and climate justice into long-term adaptation solutions. By addressing climate justice in agricultural areas, the farmland community would increase their food security, as well as improve farm-worker well-being.

Speaker Janaki Jagannath, Coordinator at the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative, provided a great hands-on demonstration of sequestering soil carbon. Participants poured water into two different vases of soil to demonstrate water-holding sequestration. The non-mineral soil absorbed the water very quickly, whereas the mineral soil absorbed the water very slowly. In order to maintain a level of diversity, there needs to be advancing on the ground. Smaller farms have lower adaptive capacity than larger farms and that must be understood to develop adaptive solutions. Virginia Jameson of the American Farmland Trust stressed that the climate change impacts California’s farmlands were facing, and will continue to face, put 1.4 million acres of farmland at threat of loss by 2050. With this in mind, she brought great attention to the role of climate resiliency in terms of food security, recharging aquifers, and securing farmland.

Let’s Talk Climate: Messages to Motivate Americans

By Gilee Corral, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

How do you talk about climate change? Do people tune out or tune in to your message? This session addressed messaging and led participants step-by-step towards crafting a communications piece.

Climate change is often avoided due to fear and bias. This makes messaging inherently difficult. Compounding this is the tendency for advocates to speak in terms of “gloom and doom” and self-sacrifice. EcoAmerica has developed fifteen steps to talking about climate change, based on social science research on messaging and American values. Workshop participants used these fifteen steps and ecoAmerica’s principals to write messages for the public and city officials. Since “Doom & gloom” messages only motivate a small section of the audience (such as advocates), it was discussed how most people respond to empowering messages of hope and opportunity.

Dan Barry, ecoAmerica’s Director for Path to Positive Communities, discussed how messages may not get through to climate deniers, but when applying these messaging strategies, resilience is built against the deniers. This type of messaging generated more visible support for climate issues by trusted leaders in the community. Kirra Krygsman, Research Manager for ecoAmerica, talked about how messaging should incorporate common values: family, health, security, can-do-ism, right to clean environment, responsibility to do something about climate change, independence and choice.

Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledge in Climate Change Initiatives

By Natalie Hernandez, University of Southern California

This session provided foundational information on the role of traditional knowledges in federal climate change initiatives, the principles of engaging with tribes on issues related to traditional knowledges, and actions for agencies and tribes to consider establishing processes and protocols to govern the sharing and protection of traditional knowledges.

Speakers Joe Hostler with the Yurok Tribe, Ron Reed with the Karuk Tribe, and Preston Hardison with the Tulalip Tribes discussed the importance of informational ownership of traditional knowledges, particularly in regards to climate adaptation efforts. Due to a long history of exploitation from outsiders and the U.S. government, tribes are concerned about their rights to maintain ownership of their traditional knowledges. It is important to understand the value of traditional knowledges and to respect tribal ownership of information. There is no single definition of traditional knowledges, but it includes: community traditions, intergenerational, rituals practices, and moral values, often expressed through language, stories, legends, folklore, songs, taboos, and laws. Tribes have been dealing with the impacts of wildfires, droughts, and water scarcity for a long time and are asking for recognition of traditional knowledges so that they can use it to address climate change. Traditional knowledges are place-based, and have to be taken in context. It’s important to identify risks before sharing sensitive information and ensuring data ownership. Traditional knowledges are rooted in spirituality, so people need to understand the intrinsic value of religion and faith when seeking this information from tribes.

Vulnerability Assessments – Now What? From Knowledge to Equitable Action 

By Mike Kloha, CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow

As the world begins to experience the effects of global climate change, more and more communities are becoming susceptible to its negative social impacts. Local cities and organizations have begun measuring these impacts through social vulnerability assessments, which have proven both difficult and controversial. The panel of three speakers spoke adamantly about social vulnerability assessments, and while they recognized how essential these assessments were, they were also critical of the drawbacks.

The discussion started with defining social vulnerability and led to the subject of practice. The audience was engaged in the discussion, asking about how to do social vulnerability assessments without offending local communities. The speakers came to the conclusion that communities need to be labeled in one way or another, and while it may not be politically viable in the short-run, it is essential to addressing social vulnerability problems. One speaker pointed out, “social vulnerability is too important of a problem to be politically cautious about.” Strong leadership and community engagement are essential for moving forward and devising effective solutions. Panelist Susanne Moser, Director of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, pointed out that social vulnerability assessments do not always tell the whole story, and it is important to ask questions about the assessments and compare them to other studies. There are also many political factors working against addressing social vulnerability issues, which means strong and courageous political leadership is essential to solving them.

Rising to the Challenge: Advancing Coastal Adaptation in California

By Carrie Metzgar, CivicSpark Fellow, City of Long Beach & ARCCA 

The Advancing Coastal Adaptation in California session gave powerful insight into the role collaboration plays in the processes of planning for coastal adaptation. Speakers addressed that now was an opportune time to bring communities to the table in order to support one another in making sense of science, determining best methods for conducting adaptation planning, and for discussing the importance of climate justice.

Moderator Susanne Moser, Director and Principal Researcher for Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, led the interactive session on opportunities for advancing coastal adaptation in California. Attendees participated in a survey pertaining to their perspectives on adaptation planning. This activity revealed thoughts on key motivators for adaptation planning and the challenges encountered during the process. Representatives from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego Regional Collaboratives discussed their lessons and challenges in providing on-the-ground adaptation planning assistance in their communities. Following the insightful feedback provided by the speakers, attendees then participated in breakout discussions on topics geared towards climate justice, effective science communication, planning implementation, and financing challenges.

2 Responses to “California Adaptation Daily Digest”

  1. Sigrid Wright on

    Thanks for doing this.

    In Stronger by Nature, one correction. Nancy Scolari cited pilot projects done with the application of a half-inch of compost, not a full inch. (She also mentioned research and modeling indicating that a quarter-inch application provides the same results).


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)