Report: Equity in Climate Adaptation
The Bay Area’s Joint Policy Commission requested Rooted in Resilience (formerly Bay Localize) prepare a regional work plan for community outreach and social equity in Bay Area climate adaptation planning. The recommendations are based on extensive consultation with regional grassroots social justice and other community leaders through a survey and a workshop. The in-depth online survey in both English and Spanish was voluntarily distributed by fifty-five Bay Area community and social service organizations throughout the nine counties, with responses by more than 400 residents. We then hosted a workshop with thirty regional social justice, public health, and community engagement experts to shape proposals.
Links to Report and Recommendations
Survey and Workshop Findings
The climate impact about which the greatest number of survey respondents expressed concern was the rising price of food and other basic goods. They also expressed serious concern about impacts of major storms, drought, and poor air quality. Participants rated “partnering with organizations in vulnerable communities” as the most effective strategy for local governments to engage with them in planning. Partnerships should be structured to ensure that community groups have real power in decision making, especially around major investment. Participants are interested in taking leadership roles to determine how planning will happen and where investment will be made, including major infrastructure spending. They also indicated they believe it is important for community organizations to be funded for the time and effort of their involvement in planning, and for residents of highly vulnerable communities to be hired into jobs resulting from investment in adaptation.
Next Steps: Map Your Future Project
Participants also expressed interest in evaluating existing community resilience to climate change. Resilience, defined as the ability to cope with stress and adversity, exists at the level of the individual, family or household, and community as a whole. Low-income residents and communities of color especially have deep experience dealing with stress and adversity, and have a lot to teach about resilience. Mapping and investing in neighborhood-level resilience assets may offer a cost-effective way to build community capacity to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Bay Localize’s next step is currently developing the Map Your Future program to make it easy for local planners and community organizations, with an emphasis on youth groups, to work together to map out community resilience assets.
Big Thanks to All the Groups that Contributed to this Work!
We deeply appreciate the following organizations who helped distribute our survey to their members, and in many cases offered other valuable input: West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Movement Generation, Urban Tilth, Urban Habitat, Communities for a Better Environment, Breakthrough Communities, Somos Mayfair, Youth United for Community Action, North Bay Organizing Project, Pacific Institute, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Healthy 880 Communities, Ecology Center, GRID Alternatives, Nonprofit Housing Association, Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative, Puente de la Costa Sur, and Contra Costa Climate Leaders, the State Department of Public Health, and the Bay Area Health Inequities Initiative, and Richard Burnett. We look forward to continuing this regional dialogue and collaboration for equity in climate resilence planning.