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Capital Region Climate News & Resources: November 20, 2019

Collaborative Update

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News

To survive climate change, we’ll need a better story
For those without backgrounds in climate science, it can be hard to connect a planet-scale atmospheric calamity with the reality of daily life. An ambitious new project in Sweden is developing an unexpected tool that could enable the public to grasp the practical steps that would lead to more sustainable societies: storytelling. “We need storytellers because generally when scientists come up with conclusions, they are very non-personalized. When you take research out into the public and you want people to connect with it, you have to involve an ‘I,’ a ‘we.’ My job is helping people to emotionally connect. When they emotionally connect with an issue, then they engage.” (CityLab)

 

Technology will not save us from climate change, but imagining new forms of society will
Challenge and disruption is important in prompting change. But it’s also key that we consider—and show—how a zero carbon future could work in practice. This is where the field of social innovation – the development of new ideas that meet social needs—is coming of age. The key message of social innovation is that the scale of change needed in the next few years simply can’t be achieved just by top-down government policy or by grassroots action. Social innovation has a central role to play in mobilizing society as a partner in this work. (Phys.org)

 

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.” There is no time to lose: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.” (Guardian)

 

How Sacramento’s urban forest divides the city, in health and in wealth
Communities with a higher-than-average number of trees are places like Land Park, East Sacramento and the Pocket also have the largest concentrations of high-income households, data shows. Meanwhile, low- to moderate-income areas like Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Parkway and Valley Hi have fewer trees and less shade. In Land Park, for example, the canopy covers 43 percent — more than double the city-wide average. Now compare that with the 12 percent tree canopy coverage found in Meadowview in south Sacramento. (SacBee)

 

They’ve managed the forest forever. It’s why they’re key to the climate change fight
More than 600 indigenous communities live in Canada’s boreal forest, one of the last great swaths of intact wilderness on Earth. But every year, a million acres fall to logging to make timber and tissue products, including toilet paper sold in the US. That’s seven hockey rinks’ worth of forest every minute. Canada’s First Nations, with help from groups such as the NRDC and Greenpeace, want to stanch the losses and protect the lands their ancestors have depended upon for centuries — or longer. (LA Times)

 

Invasive plants escalate wildfires in US landscapes
Iconic landscapes of the western United States are more likely to burn if they are overrun by invasive grasses. Scientists found that habitats with eight non-native grass species had higher areas burned than habitats free of invaders. The authors suggest that the presence of invasive grasses should be considered more prominently in future land-management plans. (Nature)

 

Psychologists from 40 countries pledged to use their jobs to address climate change
The leaders of psychological associations from more than 40 countries signed a proclamation pledging to use their expertise to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” The proclamation, as well as a draft resolution set to be finalized this week, expresses a commitment to “inform our respective members and the public about climate crisis,” to advocate for programs to minimize the psychological harm of climate change, advocate for “those most susceptible” to “mental health impacts of climate crisis,” and encourage policymakers to “use more psychological science” in addressing climate change. The American Psychological Association, one of the signatories, made history in 2017 by throwing its weight behind a body of research that pointed to “eco anxiety” as a legitimate affliction. (Quartz)

 

As disasters worsen, cities and researchers eye social resilience
As climate change makes natural disasters more common and more extreme, cities and communities are working to improve their resilience. But disasters don’t just cause physical damage; they can leave communities struggling mentally and emotionally, as well. “If a community can’t stand on its own two feet psychologically, all the work on having stronger buildings isn’t going to get you anywhere.” (CityLab)

 

For firefighters, how ‘mindfulness’ can ease the deadly stress of their jobs
As California’s firefighters confront one deadly wildfire after another around the state, the flames and the noxious fumes are not the only perilous threats awaiting them. Rather, stress and trauma also mount vicious assaults on first responders’ bodies and brains. When the so-called flight-or-fight mechanism “is repeatedly activated, when people have these neurochemicals being constantly released in their bodies because of chronic stress, then it can ultimately damage…the blood vessels, the cells, the brain and cause all kinds of symptoms.” (SacBee)

 

Life on thin ice: Mental health at the heart of the climate crisis
Greenland’s melting has been adopted by the world as its own problem. But for the islanders grieving their dissolving world, the crisis is personal, and dangerous. The climate crisis is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety to people in Greenland who are struggling to reconcile the traumatic impact of global heating with their traditional way of life. The article gives Greenland’s most remote and inaccessible communities a voice on the climate crisis: “We are searching for terms to capture this deep feeling of pain in Arctic nations – words like eco-anxiety or ecological grief – but for me, something called ‘solastalgia’ perfectly sums up how people living on the frontline of climate change feel….It means feeling homesick when you are home. Many of these islanders are in mourning for a disappearing way of life.” (Guardian)
It’s the end of the world as they know It: The distinct burden of being a climate scientist
It’s hardly surprising that researchers who spend their lives exploring the dire effects of climate change might experience emotional consequences from their work. Yet, increasingly, scientists have begun publicly discussing the psychological impact of contending with data pointing to a looming catastrophe, dealing with denialism and attacks on science, and observing government inaction in the face of climate change. Scientists have been coping with this troubling data for decades—and the grinding emotional effects from that research are another cost of global warming that the public has yet to fully confront. (Mother Jones)

 

Has your doctor asked you about climate change?
For Dr. Mary Rice, connecting climate-change consequences — heat waves, more pollen, longer allergy seasons — to her patients’ health is becoming routine. She is among a small but growing number of doctors and nurses who discuss those connections with patients. In June, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association were among a long list of medical and public health groups that issued a call to action asking the U.S. government, business and leaders to recognize climate change as a health emergency. (KHN)

 

How to build a new park so its neighbors benefit
The pattern of new parks creating gentrification might lead observers to wonder whether such investments are a good idea, if they threaten to displace the very people they were intended to serve. The question for park-makers, and the city leaders who champion them, is whether communities can have their grass-covered cake and eat it too. A report by UCLA and the University of Utah examines this question, surveying “parks-related anti-displacement strategies” undertaken by 19 U.S. cities where 27 major park developments are underway. (City Lab)
New Zealand commits to carbon zero by 2050
The New Zealand parliament has passed landmark climate legislation, with historic cross-party support, committing the nation to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accords. The bill passed 119 votes to one. (Guardian)
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Tools and Resources

Strategies to Address Climate Change Risk in Low- and Moderate-income Communities
This issue of the Community Development Innovation Review offers strategies that address climate change risk in low- and moderate-income communities. As these communities begin to grapple with a changing environment, strategic investments can increase resiliency and support adaptation while simultaneously advancing community development priorities. The articles in the Review consider these investment opportunities from a diverse set of community, financial, economic, and academic perspectives. (FRBSF)

Governing for Resilience
This paper takes a broader look at Sonoma County’s experience rebuilding after the 2017 fires to consider options for public, private and civic-sector leaders who seek to build more collaborative relationships important to the everyday efforts of growing equitable and sustainable communities—and essential to increasing resiliency. (California Forward)

2019 Legislative Update: Climate Adaptation Bills Passed in California
A summary of key climate adaptation bills passed in California. (ARCCA)

Strategic Growth Council Racial Equity Action Plan
The Strategic Growth Council is committed to achieving racial equity in its operations, investments, and policy initiatives and to achieve its vision for Racial Equity: All people in California live in healthy, thriving, and resilient communities regardless of race. This Racial Equity Action Plan outlines concrete actions that the Strategic Growth Council leadership and staff will take to achieve racial equity in its organization, operation, programs, and policies. (SGC)

How have other jurisdictions worked to embed equity?
The California State Library’s Research Bureau conducted a literature review to answer the question: How have other jurisdictions worked to embed equity? The memo includes information on how other jurisdictions (including countries, cities, and counties), large employers, non-profits, and universities have worked to embed equity (i.e., racial equity, diversity, and/or inclusion considerations) in their programs, policies, and organizations. (SGC)
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Upcoming Opportunities

Learn How to Access State Funding for Clean and Shared Mobility
Multiple dates, Nov. 15-Dec. 12
Do you want to improve your community’s health, air quality and economic opportunities? The California Air Resources Board, through CALSTART, is investing $20 million in clean mobility projects, such as bike share, car share and van pools. The Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot is available to disadvantaged and low-income communities, including some Tribal and affordable-housing communities, to increase access to safe, reliable, convenient and affordable transportation options. Join an outreach forum or webinar to learn about the benefits of clean mobility and how to get money to launch local clean transportation projects. (CALSTART)

 

Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC)
Administered by the Strategic Growth Council and implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the AHSC Program funds land-use, housing, transportation, and land preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduce GHG emissions. Deadline: February 11, 2020. (SGC)

 

Transformative Climate Communities Program Planning Grant Program (Round 3)
The Strategic Growth Council is excited to release the Notice of Funding Availability for Round 3 of the Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC). Three planning grants for $600,000 each will be available. Planning Grant applicants must complete a mandatory survey by January 15, 2020. Deadline: February 28, 2020. (SGC)

 

Strategic Growth Council: Climate Change Research Program Round 3
The Climate Change Research Program is a statewide research initiative that funds outcome-based research advancing the State’s climate goals, focused on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Projects will demonstrate how State investments can advance climate change goals while building innovative, outcome-driven partnerships between the State, the research community, and other research partners. Deadline: February 12, 2020. (SGC)

 

Forthcoming Funding Opportunity: The California Climate Resilience Challenge
The California Resilience Challenge is a statewide effort, led by businesses and a diverse range of partners, to build local climate resilience and support a shared vision for a resilient California in the face of increasing climate threats. The Challenge is seeking submissions for diverse and replicable climate change resilience projects from across California. An RFP will be released on December 2; interested parties should sign up for updates. (California Resilience Challenge)

 

Job opportunity: Cool Davis, Field Coordinator (Transportation)
Cool Davis is hiring for a Field Coordinator to train and direct volunteers to work with households to reduce household-based GHG emissions, focusing on transportation. The Field Coordinator will direct volunteers in delivering activities for Cool Solutions campaigns designed using community based social marketing principles and community engagement strategies. (Apply)

 

CalFire: Urban and Community Forestry Grants
CalFire is offering three urban and community forestry grants through California Climate Investments: Urban Forest Expansion and Improvement; Urban Forest Management Activities; and Urban Wood and Biomass Utilization. Concept proposals due November 27. (CalFire)

 

SB 2: $123 million available for Housing Planning Grants
The Department of Housing and Community Development has $123 million available under the SB2 Planning Grants Program (PGP). The PGP will help local governments prepare, adopt, and implement plans that accelerate housing production; streamline the approval of housing development affordable to all income levels; facilitate housing affordability; and promote development consistent with the State Planning Priorities. This a is a non-competitive, over-the-counter grant program. Apply by November 30 (HCD)

 

CalFire Fire Prevention Grants Program
The Fire Prevention Program has $50 million available for projects to improve the resiliency of forested and forest-adjacent communities and upper watershed forests while achieving climate goals. Funded activities include: hazardous fuel reduction, fire planning, and fire prevention education with an emphasis on improving public health and safety while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Deadline: December 4, 3pm. (CalFire)

 

Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program
The Safe Routes Partnership is accepting applications for the 2020 Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program. Under this program, the Safe Routes Partnership will award $12,500 to seven communities with projects that will create walkable, bikeable parks, along with technical assistance to set the project plans in motion. Deadline: December 16. (SRP)

 

2020 Leadership In Community Resilience Program
The National League of Cities 2020 Leadership in Community Resilience program is accepting applications from cities seeking additional funding for resilience-related projects. Each city will receive $10,000, advisory services and a site visit from NLC staff, as well as an invitation to NLC’s annual resilience summit for the mayor and a staff member. Deadline: December 20. (NLC)

 

National Forest Foundation Matching Awards Program
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) Matching Awards Program provides funding for results-oriented on-the-ground projects that enhance forest health and outdoor experiences on National Forests and Grasslands. Nonprofits, universities, and federally-recognized American tribes with projects aimed at enhancing outdoor experiences, improving forest and ecosystem health, and engaging communities in caring for their public lands are eligible to apply. Sign up for the informational webinar on December 13. Deadline: January 16, 2020. (NFF)

 

FEMA 2019 Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants
In Fiscal Year 2019, the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program has $70 million for two types of community flood mitigation activities: 1) Advance Assistance for flood mitigation design and development of community flood mitigation projects that will subsequently reduce flood claims; and 2) Mitigation projects that address community flood risk for the purpose of reducing NFIP flood claim payments. The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides Federal funds to State, Local and Tribal governments to implement and sustain cost-effective measures designed to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding from future disasters. Deadline: January 31, 2020. (FEMA)

 

NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants
NOAA’s Office of Education has announced a competitive funding opportunity for projects aimed at strengthening environmental literacy of K-12 students and the public more broadly. NOAA will award approximately $3 million in grants to projects that seek to increase community knowledge about how to build resiliency in the face of extreme weather caused by climate change and teach the community how to achieve that resilience. Deadline: March 26. (Grants.gov)

 

Federal government releases $7 billion to build climate resilience
The money — $7.65 billion in total — aims to make disaster-damaged communities more resilient by paying for reconstruction projects that will withstand increasingly severe storms, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. The funding differs from most federal disaster aid because instead of simply repairing or rebuilding damaged buildings and facilities, communities must spend the recovery money on mitigation projects that “increase resilience to disasters.” California will receive $88 million and has until April 6, 2020, to submit projects. (Federal Register)
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