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Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Let’s keep pulling on the part of the rope we can touch

From the May 2021 Cornerstone Network email

Earlier this week I served on a panel at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM’s) workshop: “Motivating Local Action to Address Climate Impacts and Build Resilience.” Our panel focused on “Reactive and Proactive Local Actions and Data Translation for Decision Makers.”

A lot of words, and wonky titles, but the conversation was fascinating, and I was glad to participate. It reminded me, once again, that climate resilience work is happening on many fronts and from many different perspectives.

Joining me on the panel were people from a variety of backgrounds and with different focus areas. A career military woman is helping the Virginia governor’s office develop coastal adaptation policies. A social equity activist is helping under-resourced communities advocate for their adaptation needs. A floodplain manager is working to address climate adaptation issues in our floodplains.

Capacity is the issue

For my part, I talked about the needs of local government staff and officials. I explained how not enough data isn’t always the problem. I’ve seem how stretched community leaders and staff are and how much they have on their plates. I encouraged NASEM to find optimal ways to share relevant information with local governments. It must be easy to access the research and tools they need. Especially important for less affluent communities.

I also encouraged involvement with the efforts underway to create climate services nationwide. We will need researchers at the table ready to answer the questions communities are asking. Working together and bringing scientific information to the ground in useful ways is key to meeting our climate goals.

NASEM will integrate the ideas and information provided by the various panels into its discussions about where to focus research efforts. I’m pleased they reached out for different perspectives and I’m looking forward to seeing how they pull it all together in their research plan.

As you head into the Memorial Day weekend, take with you the knowledge that climate work is happening in every corner of our nation – even in places where you might not expect it. We just need to keep pulling on the part of the rope we can touch, knowing that others are doing the same.

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