Bridging the Gap: Connecting with Community Concerns for Action
During this lightning discussion participants discussed climate communication challenges and how to engage with people around climate change based on their core values. Different messages need to be crafted for different communities; for example Fresno may be more concerned about water use and drought, while Long Beach may be more concerned about sea level rise affecting development.
Sea Level Rise Adaptation by Design
Bay Area Resilience by Design discussed innovative solutions for Bay Area neighborhoods. Climate change and associated sea level rise pose significant threats to infrastructure and require innovative solutions. Hurricane Sandy was presented as a case study for the Bay Area Resiliency Design plan that will be implemented in 2018. This creates a process for communities and government to work with designers on a shared vision of a more resilient region.
Advancing Agricultural Resiliency, From the Ground Up
The panel of passionate agricultural and climate leaders discussed the numerous climate change impacts California’s agricultural lands face and the implications on critical food systems. 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.
Integrating Climate Resilience into Projects, Asset Management, Capital Planning and Permitting
The panel dove into the core values of resiliency: vulnerability, community, and 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.
Stronger by Nature: Solutions to Capture Carbon & Build Resilience
This panel focused on restoring natural infrastructure to achieve cross-cutting adaptation and mitigation 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. 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
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.
Covering Resiliency: Media Perspectives on Climate Change Adaptation
This session brought media professionals to the table to share their side of the story and to show how effective cliamte comunications can be crafted. Molly Peterson and Judith Lewis Mernit spoke about understanding local perspectives and culture before communicating about climate change while Ian James spoke about the power of using science and visuals to present climate effects.
Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives
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 US 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.
Picking up the Pace: Accelerating Just and Equitable Adaptation in Mediterranean-climate Cities
This session included citywide adaptation interventions with a focus on common adversities many Mediterranean regions face around the world. Featured case studies included Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; and Los Angeles. The vision for Mediterranean regions includes health, safe and resilient communities based through community and civic engagement, requiring both technical and social solutions.
Re-defining Equity: Expanding Focus to All Disadvantaged People
This session identified opportunities to reform CalEnviroScreen and improve it to incorporate all disadvantaged people. Speakers compared definitions from varying disadvantaged-communities measurements, and explored the impact CalEnviroScreen has on state funding. Lastly, speakers reviewed standards for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds relative to equity and location.
Vulnerability Assessments – Now What? From Knowledge to Equitable Action
The passionate panel of three speakers spoke adamantly about social vulnerability assessments. While they recognized how essential these assessments were, they were also very critical of the drawbacks. The discussion started with defining social vulnerability and eventually led to talking about the subject in practice. The audience was very engaged in the discussion, asking about how to do social vulnerability assessments without offending local communities. The speakers came to the conclusion that you will have to label communities 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.
Equitable Adaptation: We Are All in This Together
Let’s Talk Climate: Messages to Motivate Americans
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. 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.
Rising to the Challenge: Advancing Coastal Adaptation in California
Moderator Susanne Moser led an interactive implementation workshop discussing opportunities for advancing coastal adaptation in California. The workshop started with attendees participating in a survey pertaining to their perspectives on adaptation planning. This informative activity revealed overall thoughts on key motivators for adaptation planning and the challenges often encountered during the process of planning. Representatives from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego Regional Collaboratives then 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.
Natural Infrastructure 101: A Guide to Implementing New Policies
This implementation workshop 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, described the process to save Oxnard’s Ormond Beach wetlands. 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.
Decisions for the Decade: Serious Games for Gnarly Problems
This interactive implementation workshop broke participants up into four groups to play the “Decades Game”, which involved analyzing how much to invest in development or natural disaster protection. The probability of a drought, storm, or safe year was represented by a roll of the dice, which started out as equal probabilities and were then altered in favor of droughts and storms as climate change was brought into the equation.
Partnering with Communities for Equity and Problem Solving
This implementation workshop began with participants describing their barriers to institutional engagement with the community. Speaker Ms. Margaret Gordon emphasized the need for residents to have evidence, rather than solely emotion, to support their environmental justice claims. She presented a model to overcome the distrust inherent in the relationships between agencies and communities. The tools listed to empower a community include: research, education, outreach, base building, and leadership and advocacy. These tools must be institutionalized with organizations.
Help Us Help You: Overcoming Adaptation Barriers with Boundary Organizations
This implementation workshop featured boundary organizations that help bridge the gap between stakeholders by exchanging information rapidly. These boundary organizations work in partnership to co-develop adaptation solutions by linking scientific data with public policy and management to ensure understanding of scientific principles, research, and application. Discussion was focused through the lens of underserved and disadvantaged communities by utilizing data from regional advisory groups and universities which were used as hubs to compile such information.
Conducting Vulnerability Assessments Using EPA’s Risk-Based Methodology
This implementation workshop focused around the central question, “How do you decide what to do when you don’t have the resources to do everything you need to do?” EPA’s “Being Prepared for Climate Change” workbook was used to demonstrate how to conduct a risk-based vulnerability assessment. Participants worked in small groups to create an assessment for an imaginary watershed organization that taught participants how risk management can be applied to place-based organizations to help with climate-change adaptation.
Growing Resistance: Community Driven Land Use Decision-Making
Tiffany Eng of the California Environmental Justice Alliance moderated this panel which discussed the impacts and organizing efforts around environmental justice in the San Joaquin Valley. Francisco Mendez, a Fresno resident, spoke on how he chose to advocate for the health of his community after his work in dairies impacted his health and left him on disability; Caroline Farrell of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment described the importance of building power within the community in order to make lasting and sustainable change; and Abigail Ramirez of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability noted that communities will not be equitable until they have real choices regarding decisions impacting their lives, but that part of the richness of the San Joaquin Valley comes from its engaged communities.
Assessing the Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Perspectives from City and State Government and Private Sector
This implementation workshop 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 workshop 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 workshop 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.
Breaking the Hydro-Illogical Cycle in California
Amanda Sheffield began with a diagram on the current ‘hydro-illogical cycle’ which starts with drought to awareness to panic to rain but then right back to apathy. Break-out discussion groups led to discussing the role of water agencies, how to talk about water issues, what motivators there are to take action, and how we can capitalize on these.
The Future is Now: Engaging Youth in Climate Change Adaptation
This session focused on peer-to-peer learning and how the adaptation community can engage youth who will be impacted the most from climate change. Large group discussions identified emerging best practices and resources needed to implement education and engagement programs in various communities. Towards the end, three small groups were separated by categories: equity and climate change, connection to place, and intergenerational exchanges for focused discussions to move the field forward.
New Financial Mechanisms to Leverage Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions
This session focused on a new approach to improving California’s resiliency to meet our water needs. Panelists spoke about the need for a “one stop shop” grant application process to encourage integrated sustainability and make it easier for applicants to get their projects in the door, and the importance of solving our resource problems through and ecological approach and not in infrastructure silos.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) at the Adaptation Table
Three MPO’s covered their agency’s actions to address climate adaptation at the local level. SCAG and SACOG representatives discussed the challenges they face as they begin 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 face from the threat of sea level rise, and what they are doing to prepare.
Place-Based, Equitable Climate Planning in Environmental Justice Communities
This session provided case studies for equitable climate justice planning. 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. 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. CBE in Wilmington and Richmond has implemented a Climate Adaptation Resiliency, Enhancement (CARE) Program, which focuses on addressing four issue areas: extreme heat, sea-level rise, healthcare services, and renewable energy access.
Advancing Local Energy Resilience through Community Engagement
This session introduced attendees to programs being implemented throughout the state that work to promote energy efficiency in communities and households. Strategies include installation of cool roofs and solar panels; occupancy behavior training; local festivals are energy efficiency and conservation; and statewide competitions.
“Smart” Monitoring to Help Protect Vulnerable Coastal Communities
This session defined and explained the value of smart monitoring along the California coast. Panelists spoke about how to use monitoring to identify environmental issues and challenges, and current assessments on tidal marsh vulnerability and the relationship with living shoreline projects in the Bay Area.
Financing Adaptation: Moving from Retail to Wholesale
This discussion focused on adaptation financing among leaders from the health care, energy financing, local government, and philanthropy sectors. The immensity and complexity of climate change response is creating a space for disruption in financing and deployment of solutions. From the health care to philanthropy, leaders are transforming the retail model of thinking about adaptation into one of wholesale funding.
From Pilots to Big Bold Visions: Rapid Scaling of Carbon Farming
The panel described carbon farming from regulatory background to case studies and implementation. Anne Coates gave an overview of resource conservation districts and their contributions to resource management. Russel Chamberlin discussed the pilot study at his family ranch with the Rancher to Rancher program on carbon sequestration. Sigrid Wright laid out the steps from pilot to big vision for compost application in Santa Barbara County. Aeron Arlin Genet described the CAPCOA greenhouse gas reduction exchange platform.
Turning Modeling & Planning into Action: Implementing Coastal Adaptation State-Wide
This panel consisted of three speakers who have been directly involved with coastal adaptation work. David Lewis was first to speak, and he provided a case study of strategies used up in the Bay Area by his organization Save The Bay. This served as a good example of a framework for other organizations to use in addressing coastal adaptation. Kelly Leo spoke next 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 about how to progress political will and implement solutions.
Integrating Climate Change into Hazard Mitigation Planning
Missy Stults and Juliette Hayes 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 because hazard mitigation has to inform all a jurisdiction’s plans and projects. Incorporation in these plans can also help integrate climate mitigation and adaptation actions throughout city agencies.
Working Outside your Comfort Zone: Inspiring Hope with Diverse Partners
Working with diverse partners can bring unique challenges and benefits and is necessary to effectively address and adapt to climate change. This session helped decode and provide solutions for some of the challenges of working with tribal nations, across national borders, or with other partners, such as artists.
Green for Green: Financing and Funding for a Resilient Future
Susanne Moser 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.
Looking to the Future: Creating Equitable, Post-Carbon Communities
This session featured local leaders who are advancing solutions that not only reduce the impacts of climate change, but also address the needs of the most impacted and disadvantaged communities. The goal of the session was to effectively provide tools for local leaders to positively impact their community’s economy, health and quality of life.
Taking it to the Streets: Addressing LA Heat & Equity
This session led an incredibly insightful discussion on the numerous co-benefits of planning for extreme heat in Los Angeles and beyond. David Fink of Climate Resolve provided an overview of the extreme heat the Los Angeles region is currently facing and will continue to face. With this in mind, 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 then showed the newly developed mapping tool for identifying urban heat island sports in the region. John Guevarra of Investing in Place concluded the discussion with insight on how cooling streets and public spaces can also help to improve safety and equal access.
Wither the Water?: Community Organizing for Justice and Resilience to the Water-Related Impacts of Climate Change
This panel described various water justice issues occurring across the state of California. Angela Mooney D’Arcy shared the indigenous history in California and how policymakers should be engaging with indigenous nations. Terrie Green and Douglas Mundo 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 described the water issues facing East Palo Alto, both in flooding and lack of potable water supply. Amanda Fencl discussed how research can add to understanding the impact of climate change on drinking water quality and the human stories behind this.
Adaptation as Standard Practice: Integrating Adaptation in Long-Range Planning
This panel consisted of three local government professionals who experienced a diverse number of successes and challenges within their jurisdictions regarding long-term adaptation planning. Common strategies for engagement included hosting workshops and community outreach events in order to showcase their sea level rise modeling assessments. Some jurisdictions were far more receptive than others – in particular, Huntington Beach struggled with incorporating 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.
Forgotten Forests: Healing the Sierra in Times of Climate Change
This interactive panel featured passionate Sierra Nevada locals: Scott Warner, Diana Madson, Vance Russel, Rosemarie Smallcombe, and Elizabeth Betancourt. Betancourt engaged with the audience by including them in the creation of an imaginative Sierra Nevada forest, where each audience member held up a cut out of an evergreen tree. When looking around at each tree, only about three of them were green and the rest were brown and dying. This gave a great visual example of how sick Sierra forests already are at the present, and dove into a discussion about what we can do to change this in the future.
Closing Plenary – Seize This Day: You Are the Leaders We Need