Topic: Newsletter

Can People Cultivate More Urgency Than Dollars?

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.

Read our full newsletter from November 16, 2018

Interest Topics:

For A More Resilient Rural America   

Contributed by Gwen Griffith, Model Forest Policy Program 

(a shorter version of this story appears in our ASAP member newsletter June 28, 2018)

Rural communities are highly dependent upon natural resources that are affected by climate change. These communities also face particular obstacles in responding to climate change that increase their vulnerability to its impacts.” National Climate Assessment 2014

Across America, less than 20% of the population (~ 60 million) lives on 95% of the land that we call “rural” America.  They are the vital stewards of the sparsely populated landscapes of small towns, watersheds, forests, grasslands, deserts, and farms. These lands provide nature’s services that 80% of Americans depend on for air, water, food, fiber, habitat, and recreation. Despite the importance of managing rural lands for climate resilience, underserved rural communities lack the capacity to tackle climate impacts on their own.

Recognizing this critical challenge, the Model Forest Policy Program is embarking on a new approach to meeting the particular needs of rural adaptation with the Resilient Rural America Project (RRAP),  developed in collaboration with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), EcoAdapt, Geos Institute, and the NOAA Climate Program Office and funded by the Climate Resilience Fund and Harmonic International, Inc.

The overarching goal is to accelerate rural climate action by strengthening the ability of adaptation professionals to meet the needs of underserved rural communities and operate from a more sustainable funding stream.  The project objective is to co-produce and beta test an innovative adaptation training module that enables and motivates rural leaders to take action on a specific, priority adaptation strategy. Using a co-production model, the training content and delivery methods are developed in consultation with rural users and adaptation service providers. The selection of the training module topic depends on input from adaptation professionals and rural users to understand their priorities and needs. The resulting training module will be a time efficient process that fits the particular needs of rural leaders. The first step in user engagement is the rural resilience service provider survey, which is available at this survey link. We strongly encourage climate professionals of all disciplines to take this survey now and contribute to the design and success of the project. The survey findings and training module will be a resource for all adaptation professionals and rural leaders. Thank you for taking this survey and contributing to rural resilience where ever you are!

Survey Link:

https://icmaresearch.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8cOLnOdsz2Wc53D

Baby Out With the Stormwater? Congress’ Chance to Fix the NFIP

Photo Credit: NASA

 

For homeowners in flood-prone regions, July means two crucial things: hurricane season is here, and there are only three months left to chart the future of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

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Strength in Local Leadership

Together, we can create the future we envision. Photo credit: @benjaminthacker

We are the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. Every day, we change and adapt, responding to threats imminent and distant, to create a better future. Yesterday, we were handed a new challenge. Today, it’s time for us to do what we do best—adapt. (more…)

Interest Topics:

Adaptation Field Review – Promising Practices

ASAP members are invited to participate in a rapid review of the (1) best practices, (2) needs, (3) and existing resources across the climate adaptation field in the United States. We are preparing the initial review of resources and insights on best practices and needs ahead of the National Adaptation Forum. During the Forum we will provide an opportunity to further refine the resource lists and identify best practices and needs. We hope that you will participate in this review in one or all of the following manners: