The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has created a $5 million Resiliency Hub Grant Program (for FY 2019) to provide funding for the construction of community resiliency hubs with solar power and battery storage. The program provides funding to microgrid developers to offset some of the costs to build a resiliency hub in high-density, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Maryland. The program defines “resiliency hubs” as community facilities “designed to provide emergency heating and cooling capability; refrigeration of temperature sensitive medications and milk from nursing mothers; plug power for charging of cell phone and computer batteries; as well as emergency lighting.
The City of Columbus, Ohio Climate Adaptation Plan offers recommended actions that can be taken to help Columbus and central Ohio prepare for and adapt to climate change. Developed by a task force of researchers from the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at the Ohio State University, the plan is designed to support Columbus city government, regional organizations, and residents in building a climate resilient community.
The University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and regional tribal partners developed this suite of resources to support tribes in evaluating their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The tools are tailored geographically to each of the 84 tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Great Basin regions of the western U. S. , with the potential to expand to other regions in the country. The new climate resources are available online, and include a climate tool, links to resources and a technical support line for tribal staff and members.
On November 23, 2018, the U. S. Global Change Research Program released Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) entitled Impacts, Risks and Adaptation in the United States. NCA4 includes sixteen chapters focusing on national topics and specific sectors, nine chapters focusing on different regions of the country, and two chapters focusing on both mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation responses to climate change. NCA4 concludes that: “ [o]bservations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilization has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts.
Contributed by Rachel Jacobson, ASAP Senior Program Manager
In September, I was haunted for days by this New York Times story about Casey Dailey’s death during Hurricane Harvey. Today, as I mourn the losses of the 63 people killed so far in the Camp Fire, I brace for notifications of additional “direct” deaths and for information about the hundreds more whose deaths may be “indirectly” attributable to this disaster. I grapple with understanding these losses, especially the “indirect deaths”, in the context of my role as an adaptation professional: to be able to articulate why they happened, how climate change is to blame, and what I can do to decrease the number of losses projected for the years ahead.
Personally, my motivation as an adaptation professional is to reduce lives lost from climate change. It’s incumbent upon me, and all of us, to ask ourselves how each of the strategies we use in our work affects how we achieve that goal. ASAP’s Values and Beliefs, elaborated through the Code of Ethics and Living Guide, implore us to be systems thinkers and apply co-benefits. Twelve years ago, the Stern Report made a compelling economic case for action. Last month’s IPCC report put our failure to act, and perhaps with it the failure of the economic case, in sharp relief, giving us just twelve more years to leap forward. And yet we continue to refine our methodology for evaluating the economic benefits of climate action and the costs of inaction.
But we must think beyond economic costs. As fires continue to ravage California and hurricane season comes to a close, we are approaching a reckoning with 2018’s climate change death toll. As a cross-sector community of practice, we are uniquely positioned to strengthen responsive professional capacity and reduce harm by sharing lessons learned and staying connected. Public health professionals turned the world’s attention back to the deaths caused by Hurricane Maria, using proven methodology for calculating excess mortality and outlining a research agenda for how to adapt those methodologies to the demands of climate-related disasters.
We must strive to build an accountability framework that significantly reduces loss of life. The field of public health consistently sounds the alarm about how climate change is impacting determinants of health such as clean air, water, food, and shelter. I ask those ASAP members who are part of both the climate adaptation and public health communities to step forward and help us integrate best practices for determining and communicating the human cost of climate change. We must bring the strengths from each of these communities of practice to bear and build capacity together.
Here are a few places to find public health and climate adaptation at the intersection:
The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative has 5 Quick Guides on Climate Change & Public Health. For those at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference this week, here is a list of climate change related sessions. Read this article from the APHA newswire on Accessing environmental health services: ‘This is community engagement 101’ and learn more about an environment and public health collaboration with the American Planning Association called Plans4Health. You can also attend the Health and Environmental Funders Network 2018 Annual Meeting on Environmental Health and Justice Majority: Raising Voices, Building Power, taking place in Pittsburgh November 28-30, 2018.
On November 5, 2018, the Mayor of Miami signed a Resolution directing city staff to research the effects of “climate gentrification” on low-income communities that are inland at higher elevations, and to explore ways to stabilize property taxes to reduce displacement. The City of Miami, Florida is seeing high rates of sea-level rise and increasing incidence of nuisance flooding in low-lying parts of the city. As a result, higher elevation areas of the city, which house many of the city’s lower and moderate income communities, are seeing greater development pressures, which is affecting property values and taxes.
Regional Adaptation Leadership Awards
Congratulations to our 2018 Carolinas Regional Adaptation Leadership Award honorees Holly White, John Fear, and Steven Frank! Thank you for your contributions and leadership in the field of climate adaptation.
Holly White is a dedicated climate adaptation leader in her community as well as for all of North Carolina. Her tenacity in action, vision, creativity, and sheer determination to engage with others and promote adaptation strategies and planning underscores her efficacy in putting dedication into practice. Through her strength and talent for engaging a diverse set of stakeholders, she has established the Town of Nags Head as a model for other communities to emulate in their adaptation efforts. Holly crafted a vision for a resilient Nags Head by learning about adaptation and engaging the public, both those supportive and skeptical of the need for sea level rise planning. To approach adaptation planning, Holly assembled a team across town departments that included planning, engineering, public works, and septic health. Her leadership has fostered integrated, interdisciplinary resilience. Grounding in shared values, her work has strengthened support and capacity for sea level rise planning.
Holly is ensuring that adaptation addresses complex hazards, centering the interactions between sea level rise, rainfall, and water use in driving groundwater table height and consequent flooding. The mainstreaming approach to adaptation Holly recommended will ensure that complex hazards are included across all implemented plans. Holly is now sharing lessons learned from Nags Head throughout northeastern North Carolina, initiating efforts to reach across the border with Virginia as well as rural northeastern NC counties. Through her dedication to public service, she is fulfilling her vision of a resilient rural North Carolina. We are very grateful for her service in the field, and honored to name her the Carolinas RALA Winner. Congratulations, Holly!
John Fear, Honorable Mention for Building Capacity and Fostering Connectivity
Deputy Director, North Carolina Sea Grant and N.C. Water Resources Research Institute
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
John Fear’s vision is a key asset for North Carolina Sea Grant and the Water Resources Research Institute. John’s leadership as Deputy Director has shaped each program to meet crucial needs in the state. As part of National Sea Grant visioning efforts, John has helped set the stage for discussion on climate change and adaptation, integrating climate change into strategic plans and daily operations. John chairs the North Carolina Sentinel Site Cooperative, which focuses on climate change impacts along the state’s central coast. Utilizing local ecological knowledge, residents provide valuable historical context in research projects, participate in current citizen science efforts and offer input during planning sessions. A creative expression of this engagement is the innovative RISING project, which uses fine art photography and oral histories to stimulate discussions of environmental changes that include community members and scientists.
The North Carolina Community Collaborative Research Grant Program exemplifies John’s ability to identify needs, work with colleagues to develop solutions, and leverage partnerships to accomplish goals. John recognizes there is a significant training component needed to underpin adaptation practice and planning efforts. John is a mentor and facilitator for graduate studies, leading North Carolina Sea Grant, Water Resources Research Institute and Sentinel Sites programs to provide strong research experiences for students. John also coordinates recruitment and review of applications for national fellowships in marine policy, coastal management and fisheries management. Combined, these state and national fellowships offer graduate students critical opportunities to approach challenges such as climate change — and development of related adaptations — from real-world perspectives that demand interdisciplinary approaches. We are pleased to recognize John for his ability to build capacity and foster collaboration. Congratulations, John!
Steven Frank is an internationally recognized Entomologist known for his work to understand how urban heat islands affect tree health and pest populations, and whether the effects of urban warming can predict the effects of global warming and climate change. As trees are critical to mitigate urban heat islands, remove air pollutants, and benefit human health, Steven’s mission is to understand why urban tree health declines and develop ways to sustain urban trees and ecosystem services. A hands-on climate adaptation leader training arborists, municipal foresters, landscape architects, government regulators and others, he envisions an adaptive urban environment that supports health and conservation.
Steven leads by example on innovative public communication and integrating adaptation into his work. He is a founding member of the Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management working group, a regional consortium of horticulturists, plant pathologists, and entomologists. In response to a member survey identifying ambrosia beetles as the most economically costly nursery pests, Steven developed a system to alert growers by Twitter when beetles are active, and created a targeted insecticide spray technique and tool to reduce insecticide use. These practices, along with his protocols for managing water stress, have transformed how growers manage ambrosia beetles throughout the US.
Steven’s passion for his work creates enthusiasm among his stakeholders about tree care and research based adaptation to climate change. He has built trust with stakeholders, municipal leaders and the general public because of his innate curiosity and willingness to listen to others, learn from them, and develop tools and techniques to help solve their problems. We are pleased to recognize Steven for his innovative integration of adaptation into his field. Congratulations, Steven!
Read more about our 2018 RALA Winners in California, the Great Lakes and Northeast. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make this a successful effort to recognize the adaptation champions in the field. Congratulations to everyone, and thank you for all that you do in the field of adaptation!
The Urban Adaptation Assessment (UAA) is an interactive database within a visual platform to support city leaders in decisionmaking related to climate adaptation and resilience. The tool utilizes data from over 270 cities within the United States, including all 50 states and Puerto Rico, whose populations are above 100,000. The UAA is free, open source data – in a user friendly tool to help prioritize climate strategies and mechanisms for sustained urban climate resilience. For each city, indicators of climate vulnerabilities in the built environment, and indicators of social vulnerability are established and mapped at a sub-city or census tract level.
Prepared by representatives of the Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance, Missing Pathways addresses food security, protecting human rights through land rights, and preserving and restoring natural ecosystems from climate change impacts. Carbon sequestration solutions are identified that increase the biodiversity and resilience of terrestrial carbon stocks, by ending deforestation, and enhancing restoration, regeneration and transformative agricultural practices. It prioritizes securing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and frontline communities to land, and empowerment of these communities through resilient food systems, and healthy biodiverse ecosystems solutions.
The plan to develop a climate resilient Boston Harbor in the City of Boston, Massachusetts offers strategies for Boston’s 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event. The plan focuses on green infrastructure and natural solutions to lowering the severity of sea level rise and flooding from climate change. “Resilient Boston Harbor” invests in Boston’s waterfront with a proposed restructuring of Fort Point Channel, and development of coastal protection from East Boston to the Dorchester shoreline.