Equitable Adaptation

Equitable Adaptation

Alex Score
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 7
Session Type: 
Tools and Posters

Session presentations describe several strategies and tools used by communities across the country to develop equitable climate adaptation efforts for those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Session leaders will share their experiences working in Miami-Dade County, Minnesota, the San Francisco Bay, and Duck Hill, MS. The session will also provide a national perspective on community-based approaches to equitable adaptation.


Current City Approaches to Inclusive Climate Planning
Stefen Pablo Samarripas, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
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In their climate action planning efforts, many cities are placing a priority on meeting the interests of the communities most directly affected by climate change, but it is unclear whether these localities are achieving their goal of inclusivity and if these efforts are resulting in more equitable outcomes for residents. Those most affected by climate change are often limited income communities and communities of color, and these communities have historically been excluded from citywide planning efforts. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy will present research conducted as part of its upcoming 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard characterizing cities’ current approaches to inclusive climate action planning and the outcomes of those efforts.

Minnesota Adaptation Toolkit –case study review of a scalable project approach for rapid vulnerability assessments
Ted Redmond, paleBLUEdot llc
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This presentation will review a recent project in the State of Minnesota that created a detailed climate vulnerable population assessment and responsive climate adaptation strategies for 22 Cities and one Tribal Nation. The communities ranged from 300 people to more than 85,000 and are located in all climate zones in the State.
The case study represents an effective approach in identifying and using key population indicators to support rapid vulnerability assessments while providing a foundation to adaptation design within any community. The project worked to create initial linkages within municipal peer groups as well as with State level adaptation goals and resources. These linkages can form the foundation of opportunities to create innovative partnerships between the communities to bridge local action to a larger scale.

The effort established an in-depth Vulnerability Assessment toolkit drawing regional and city-specific data from dozens of publicly available databases and resources as well as a robust Menu of Climate Adaptation Strategies providing a basis for tailoring adaptation strategies responding to community specific vulnerability profiles. The toolkit represents an easily scaled approach to deliver climate assessments and a framework to address city specific vulnerabilities within a very limited budget.

Key takeaways will include an overview of the Toolkit developed which can be readily replicated and transferred to other communities, and a review of lessons learned and opportunities for improvement. Representatives of Cities for which these assessments were provided will share their experience and how they will use this information to further climate adaptation in their community.

Building grassroots climate leadership in vulnerable communities: Lessons from a Miami-based climate justice program
Zelalem Adefris, Catalyst Miami
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Miami-Dade County (MDC) is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable areas, risking a $3.5T loss in assets by 2070 due to SLR alone. Equitable climate adaptation is vital. 67% of MDC residents are financially vulnerable, if faced with an emergency they would lack the savings to stay above the poverty line for three months. Financial vulnerability increases to 79% and 74% for African American and Hispanic populations, respectively.

In response, Catalyst Miami (CM) developed a free 10-week training program to build climate literacy and leadership capacity among MDC’s vulnerable populations. CLEAR (Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) Miami is a program grounded in environmental justice principles that educates residents on the local impacts of climate change, potential solutions, and builds their efficacy as advocates.

Since CLEAR’s inception in September 2016 there have been five cohorts consisting of 124 graduates, 51 new community initiatives led by graduates, and increased confidence speaking before local government. Graduates have engaged in advocacy efforts for equity-centered, community-led adaptation planning processes- including mandating equity and community leadership into the City of Miami’s $400M adaptation bond.

In order to share our best practices, CM has developed The CLEAR Toolkit & Curriculum, a free guide for creating successful climate leadership programs based in critical pedagogy and capacity building. At NAF, we will share our best practices in grassroots leadership development as a means of creating more equitable policy, and will share tips for the development of similar initiatives with participants.

Equitable Shorelines - San Francisco Bay Plan Amendment for Social Equity and Environmental Justice
Dana Brechwald, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Shannon Fiala, BCDC
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Created in 1965 with regional authority to protect and enhance San Francisco Bay and to encourage the Bay’s responsible and productive use for this and future generations, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is the nation’s oldest coastal zone management agency. The San Francisco Bay Plan is BCDC's regulatory framework that guides permitting decisions for proposed development in San Francisco Bay and along the Bay’s shoreline. In 2017, BCDC initiated a Bay Plan amendment to incorporate policies on social equity and environmental justice. At workshops, open houses, presentations at community meetings, BCDC has worked with vulnerable communities to develop and amend policies, particularly regarding shoreline protection, mitigation of Bay resource impacts, public access and recreational opportunities. For example, how could new shoreline development projects analyze the hydrological impacts of their project on adjacent communities, especially when vulnerable communities may not have the resources to design and construct shoreline protection? How can we ensure through the permitting process that the compensatory mitigation of biological resource impacts is located closer to impacted communities? How can community preferences be incorporated into the design of waterfront parks, open spaces and trails? How can we improve the accessibility of our permitting and planning processes and create more opportunities for community members to provide meaningful input in BCDC’s work? BCDC staff expect this amendment to be approved by our Commission in mid-2019. Through this process, we hope to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Achieving Sustainability through Education and Economic Development Solutions (A SEEDS) Initiative
Romona Taylor Williams, North Montgomery Citizens United for Prosperity (MCUP)
  • Alex Score, EcoAdapt
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Severe flooding, due to poor storm water infrastructure has plagued Duck Hill, MS for decades. Climate impacts is expected to continue impacting the city which is comprised mostly of low wealth African American community, with increased severe precipitation events and increased heat and drought events. Duck Hill elected officials and residents in partnership with Action Community Education Resources, EcoAdapt, and Sustainability Works are engaging in a collaborative problem solving process using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Model to address environmental and public health issues in disadvantaged communities and undergoing a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning (CVAAP) to help increase resilience of the cities the environmental and public health issues. The project involves a multi-prone approach: identification community vision and strategic goals, community capacity building and intergenerational leadership, consensus building and dispute resolution, multi-stakeholder partnerships and leveraging of resources, constructive engagement by stakeholders, project management and implementation, and evaluation, lessons learned, and development of best practices. The CVAAP will also help to determine key indicators like who is at risk (age, location, and mobility of the local population), what areas are at risk, identify critical infrastructure, identify key natural resources, and evaluate environmental, public health and economic impacts of extreme, climate related, weather events. Following the CVAAP and data gathering process residents and their partners will develop a list of recommended solutions, a Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Plan, to be incorporated into the Township’s existing Zoning and Land Use Plan.