People should pay attention to today’s statement from the White House, announcing its first cohort of “Climate Action Champions,” 16 cities, counties, and tribal communities whose work to identify and reduce their climate vulnerabilities places them at the cutting edge of resilience thinking and implementation. The broad and diverse range of communities from across the country belies the notion that the U.S. is lagging on climate change action.
Especially exciting was the inclusion of two cities—Boston and San Francisco—that have been consistent innovators and inspiring examples in the work of urban resilience. We at The Rockefeller Foundation have had the great pleasure of partnering with both communities, most recently through their membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
Their efforts are encouraging and inspiring. Boston, for example, launched a “Green Ribbon Commission,” pulling together stakeholders from every corner of the city’s civic life to develop implementable strategies for fighting climate change. And in San Francisco, leaders have united to set what the White House called “some of the most aggressive climate and sustainability targets in the nation.”
While it’s a thrill to see so many places around the country taking the lead on building climate resilience, many more need some help to get started or to refine and focus their goals and priorities. That’s why we are partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of their National Disaster Resilience Competition, which makes over $1 billion in funds available to communities that have been devastated by natural disasters in recent years. These funds are intended to help them enhance their resilience, minimizing the impact of potential future shocks, while also improving day-to-day life, yielding a critical resilience dividend. Starting the third week of December, our Foundation will host “resilience academies” around the country, helping potential applicants understand the benefits of resilience thinking, and provide targeted technical assistance along the way.
Applications are open right now—does your community need a resilience “champion” of its own?