CAF 2021 Resources

The 2021 California Adaptation Forum was held as a 5-month virtual series, taking place June – October. 2021. In addition to organizing informative webinars, CAF 2021 was designed to be highly interactive to engage participants through track-based workshops that aimed to explore solutions to common adaptation challenges. Below are resources from each event, including a session recording, presentation and interactive activities.

CAF 2021 Plenaries
Kickoff Plenary –  A Reason for Hope

While the 2021 California Adaptation Forum focused on The Grand Adaptation Challenge, we wanted to focus first on the tremendous progress that California’s adaptation community has made in recent years that give us A Reason for Hope.

The climate challenges we face are undoubtedly immense. Communities are already facing the devastating impacts of wildfires, extreme heat, drought, and flooding, exacerbating historic and ongoing inequities in marginalized communities. However, we know that there are many successes to celebrate – from community-led initiatives to ambitious State actions and beyond. The adaptation community is growing and mobilizing; more communities are developing actionable adaptation plans; and we’re continuing to witness our collective transition from adaptation awareness and planning to real, on-the-ground action.

Closing Plenary – Accelerating Adaptation Equitably and Intentionally

Adaptation leaders from across California came together to discuss the grand challenges they face in working to build equitable, climate-resilient communities. CAF 2021 featured a series of interactive workshops across three tracks: 1) Advancing Equitable Adaptation, 2) Integrated Planning for Holistic Solutions, and 3) Catalyzing Meaningful Adaptation Action. From dismantling white supremacy to regional governance, workshop discussions were rich with new ideas to deepen and further adaptation efforts.

The 2021 CAF Closing Plenary featured key takeaways from each track and insights into how California communities can capitalize on upcoming opportunities to accelerate adaptation efforts in an equitable and intentional way.
Advancing Equitable Adaptation Track
Kickoff  Webinar – Harnessing Disruption & Change: Welcome to Advancing Equitable Adaptation

In less than 2 years, our nation has experienced a generational racial reckoning, a once-in-a-century public health crisis, all while the climate crisis churns on affecting frontline communities first and worst. We have all had to adapt and pivot, while also coming to terms with the injustices that have always been with us. This introductory session to Advancing Equitable Adaptation will had thought leaders share their reflections on this moment and how we can harness our collective shock and momentum, to power our ongoing adaptation to the “new normal”. This included lessons learned in the past year from COVID and the racial justice uprisings, how we can apply this to our climate movement, and what is possible in embracing uncertainty and change.

Workshop 1 – Dismantling White Supremacy

The first workshop for Track 1: Advancing Equitable Adaptation focused on white supremacy in the workplace: how it shows up, how it affects adaptation efforts, and how to begin dismantling racism from the inside out. This workshop intended to center the work of this track in our present reality – the hard truths we must face head-on in order to deeply integrate equity into our adaptation work. This highly interactive workshop included a set of breakout discussions, time for reflection, and brief presentations. As the first workshop, we also discussed group norms and overall challenges related to advancing equitable adaptation to inform future workshops.

Workshop 2 – Actualizing Racial Equity in Climate Adaptation

The first workshop explored how white supremacy shows up in the workplace and in adaptation work – and strategies for dismantling white supremacy to create a more equitable and inclusive culture. This workshop dove deeper into how adaptation practitioners can intentionally integrate equity principles and practices into climate adaptation processes to actualize racial equity goals. Participants will hear case studies and engage in breakout discussions to share their own ideas, strategies, resources, and lessons learned.

Workshop 3 – Moving Slow + Fast: Resilience Strategies and Processes with Purpose

Balancing the need to move quickly to meet the demands of a changing climate with intentional, equitable processes can seem like an impossible task. In this session, participants heard from three leaders about how they have structured processes for developing innovative resilience strategies to meet these twin goals for equity and expediency. The session liffted up concrete, emerging strategies for addressing climate adaptation, ideas for designing engagement activities for both in-person and virtual participation, and insight into simultaneously maintaining both trust and momentum in broader resilience work.

Outcomes Webinar

Thanks to the dedication of long-time environmental justice leaders and communities, calls for equitable and inclusive adaptation planning, decision-making, and implementation now reverberate throughout the adaptation community. Their calls are clear: Honor our inherent resilience and lived experiences. Authentically involve frontline communities in decision-making. Work in partnership with communities to dismantle unjust systems. This webinar highlighted key takeaways from the track’s workshop series and case studies featuring equitable adaptation practices that drive systemic change and deliver tangible benefits to historically under-served, under-represented, and under-invested communities.

Integrated Planning for Holistic Solutions Track
Kickoff Plenary – Honoring Complex Connections: An Introduction to Integrated Adaptation Planning

The cascading nature of climate change impacts and disasters require an integrated, cross-sector approach that addresses these connections. From the compounding impacts of extreme heat, drought, and wildfire to unresolved societal vulnerabilities due to structural inequality and environmental racism, integrated adaptation planning is admittedly challenging and complex. In this webinar, we explored the cascading effects of wildfires, as a case study, including consequences for community lifelines, water quality, and more. We  also explored examples of integrated adaptation planning successes and multi-pronged approaches to supporting community resilience, ecosystem health, nature-based solutions, and clean air and water for all.

Workshop 1 – Challenges & Solutions for Integrated Planning

Following up from the introductory webinar for Track 2: Integrated Planning for Holistic Solutions, this interactive workshop continued to explore major challenges shared amongst adaptation practitioners when pursuing integrated adaptation planning. Track participants delved into five key challenge areas: 1) insufficient resources, 2) competing priorities, 3) siloed sectors, and 4) ineffective governance. But we’re not just focusing on challenges. After we have a clearer understanding of specific issues and barriers, participants began to identify case studies, promising practices, and potential solutions to overcome identified challenges.

Workshop 2 – Building Lasting Relationships: Inclusive Community Engagement & Regional Collaboration

Inclusive community engagement and regional collaboration are both necessary and critical to developing integrated adaptation plans that generate holistic solutions. This workshop highlighted frameworks and case studies that demonstrate effective engagement and collaboration approaches, techniques, and results. Participants then engaged in a series of interactive discussions to share and explore replicable strategies. Exercises were also designed to enable participants to walk away with tangible resources to support their community engagement and interagency coordination efforts.

Workshop 3 – Effective Regional Planning & Collaboration

The landscape-level impacts of climate change do not recognize the political boundaries and sector-based silos that adaptation practitioners must often operate within. Recognizing the importance and benefits of regional collaboration, many communities and jurisdictions are working together to share information, develop plans, and implement solutions at the regional scale. This workshop highlighted examples of effective multi-jurisdictional planning and regional collaboration, as well as key tools and resources to support regional efforts. Participants engaged in a series of discussions to explore the big elephants in the room: how do we define regions; what is the ideal role of regional climate collaboratives, who should be leading regional planning; and how do we hold ourselves accountable to advance regional priorities?

Outcomes Webinar

The cascading and compounding impacts of climate change – from extreme heat, drought and wildfire to flooding and sea level rise – affect every segment of society. While our communities, ecosystems, built infrastructure, and economy all face threats, climate change disproportionately affects frontline communities and exacerbates existing inequities. The intersectionality of these challenges requires integrated solutions to address deficiencies in our systems, such as transportation, energy, public health, agriculture, water, emergency services, and communications. This webinar highlighted key takeaways from the track’s workshop series and case studies featuring inclusive and collaborative planning efforts that seek to address the cascading and compounding impacts of climate change.

Catalyzing Meaningful Adaptation Action Track
Kickoff Webinar – Exploring and Overcoming Implementation Barriers to Catalyze Meaningful Adaptation Action

Year after year, we have been seeing more communities assess climate vulnerabilities, develop adaptation plans, and begin implementing adaptation strategies – from living shorelines to cooling centers. However, there are many barriers that must be overcome in order to catalyze meaningful and equitable adaptation at the pace and scale demanded by the climate crisis. Community-based initiatives, landscape-level projects, systems improvements, and built and natural infrastructure solutions are all urgently needed to build resilience to the worsening heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and more. This webinar explored key adaptation implementation challenges related to measuring performance, insurance, funding and financing, scaling local solutions, and more. Presenters highlighted ongoing efforts to address these challenges and case studies of promising strategies that catalyze meaningful adaptation action.

Workshop 1 – Adaptation Implementation Barriers & Solutions

While the first two workshops focused on broader challenges and solutions, key concepts, and scenario-based exercises, this third and final workshop dove into real-world adaptation projects and concrete opportunities to support implementation. Participants heard brief presentations on adaptation projects to then engage in a “project troubleshooting lab,” which aims to crowdsource ideas for strategies and solutions to overcome each project’s specific implementation challenges. Participants then engaged in small and large group discussions to explore game changers that have catalyzed adaptation efforts for their agencies and organizations, upcoming opportunities that can be leveraged to accelerate project implementation, and ideas to foster ongoing dialogue.

Workshop 2 – Adaptation Shark Tank: Collaborative Project Conceptualization

Year after year, we have been seeing more communities assess climate vulnerabilities, develop adaptation plans, and begin implementing adaptation strategies – from living shorelines to cooling centers. However, there are many barriers that must be overcome in order to catalyze meaningful and equitable adaptation at the pace and scale demanded by the climate crisis. Community-based initiatives, landscape-level projects, systems improvements, and built and natural infrastructure solutions are all urgently needed to build resilience to the worsening heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and more. This webinar explored key adaptation implementation challenges related to measuring performance, insurance, funding and financing, scaling local solutions, and more. Presenters highlighted ongoing efforts to address these challenges and case studies of promising strategies that catalyze meaningful adaptation action.

Workshop 3 – Real-World Adaptation Project Challenges & Field Opportunities

At this highly interactive workshop, participants worked collaboratively to develop then pitch an adaptation project concept that addresses key implementation challenges identified in the track’s first workshop. Each group focused on a distinct climate impact and community type, respond to curveball scenarios, and engaged in a role playing exercise.

Outcomes Webinar

Local jurisdictions throughout California have been working to understand their climate risks and vulnerabilities, identify adaptation strategies, and develop adaptation plans. While this foundational work must continue to ensure that plans are strategic, aligned, and informed by community and science, communities are experiencing and witnessing climate-fueled disasters at an increasing pace. On-the-ground action and projects are urgently needed – across the entire state – to build the resilience of our communities, infrastructure, ecosystems, and economy. This webinar highlighted key takeaways from the track’s workshop series and case studies featuring real-world implementation projects addressing extreme heat, drought, sea level rise, and wildfires.

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