This week we’ll be peeling back layer 2 of the Climate Ready Boston recommendations, which focuses on how to prepare and connect communities in a changing climate.
We’re breaking down the Climate Ready Boston (CRB) report in a five-part blog series. If you missed our first installment make sure to read it here. This blog series walks through each layer of the recommendations (the layers are related to the scale of action needed, such as at the community, infrastructure, or building scale), and by learning more about the report, we hope you’ll provide feedback into their implementation.
Layer 2: Prepared and Connected Communities
The second CRB layer aims to better connect Boston residents, businesses, institutions, and community groups to the City’s adaptation efforts, and provide resources to take their own action. There’s a lot to outline in this layer so let’s dig in!
STRATEGY 2: EXPAND EDUCATION & ENGAGEMENT
1. Expand citywide climate readiness education and engagement
CRB recommends expanding outreach on climate preparedness in collaboration with City partners, resilience-focused nonprofits, business groups, local community development corporations, small businesses, and other community-based organizations.
The consortium of partners should launch a citywide education campaign and identify opportunities to integrate resilience into existing education campaigns. In the short term, the consortium can develop multi-lingual digital and print materials as well as host in-person outreach events. In the long term, the consortium should increase emergency preparedness of Bostonians by recruiting climate readiness volunteers.
Greeenovate Boston will also pilot a climate leader engagement program for Bostonians who want to be more involved with the City’s climate work. This program will provide the training necessary to address the report’s key findings and recommendations, as well as help participants lead relevant conversations within their respective communities about resiliency. The program is still being developed in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission; stay tuned for more details on the first training in February 2017.
2. Launch a climate ready buildings education program for property owners and users
The report recommends that the City develop and run a Climate Ready Buildings Education Program. This program would be designed to inform property owners about current and future climate risks facing their buildings, and actions they can take to prepare for change.
3. Reach out to facilities that serve vulnerable populations to support preparedness and adaptation
The City should reach out to owners and operators of facilities such as privately owned affordable housing complexes, substance abuse treatment centers, daycare facilities, food pantries, and others to develop operational preparedness and evacuation plans, as well as make needed building improvements.
4. Update the City’s heat emergency action plan
Because Boston is expected to experience more heat waves, the City should continue its efforts to update its heat emergency action plan. The revised plan should enhance coordination during heat events across the City, state agencies, and nonprofit partners. In order to effectively respond to heat waves, the CRB report recommends the City create a standardized definition for both heat advisory and heat emergency events.
In addition, the City should partner with community nonprofits to expand access to facilities with cooling capacity, targeting areas with particularly vulnerable populations.
5. Expand Boston’s small business preparedness program
Small businesses play a critical role in employing Bostonians and driving our economy. Because small businesses face challenges in preparing for and recovering from climate change impacts, the City should launch a preparedness program to increase their readiness, targeting businesses that are especially susceptible to flooding. As part of this effort, the City can facilitate in-person workshops to help small business owners increase their preparedness, in partnership with the Renew Boston program.
STRATEGY 3: LEVERAGE CLIMATE ADAPTATION AS A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1. Identify resilience-focused workforce-development
The Office of Workforce Development can explore developing required skill profiles to prepare Bostonians for resilience-focused jobs (such as in construction, landscaping, green infrastructure implementation and maintenance, weatherization, and flood protection) , and create a pipeline of local workers with the expertise to get hired for resilience projects.
2. Pursue inclusive hiring and living wages for resilience projects
The City can request that firms working on resilience projects that receive City funding or land hire graduates from Boston’s workforce development programs. Through this program and Imagine Boston 2030, the City is advocating for a higher minimum wage to improve economic mobility for Bostonians.
3. Prioritize minority and women owned businesses for resilience projects
The City can request that City-sponsored resilience projects prioritize hiring minority and women-owned businesses.
Did you catch all those recommendations? The second of the five layers ensures that the city is effectively communicating their most up-to-date information with residents, businesses, and community organizations to ensure that everyone is aware of and prepared for the effects of climate change. The first step towards these recommendations is having an informed public, and here at Greenovate we’re excited to walk through these recommendations and help make them more digestible. Make sure to watch out for our next blog posting in this series and stay informed by joining our newsletter. Read more about Boston’s Climate Resilience Initiatives here.