Climate Equity Strategy Group Shaping Regional Resiliency Efforts
GCC and our partners are focused on supporting the region’s low-income people and communities of color to prepare for the effects of climate change. To strengthen our contributions to this salient issue, in 2018 we convened the Climate Equity Strategy Group. The group engaged in a year-long process to identify plans and priorities guiding where and how GCC and others can prioritize investments in infrastructure and advocacy supportive of regional climate equity over the next three to five years.
Participants include the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Breakthrough Communities, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Greenlining Institute, Green for All, Movement Strategy Center, Oakland Climate Action Coalition, Public Advocates, Resilient Communities Initiative, and Urban Habitat. Together with GCC, these partner organizations began to move the needle on climate equity policies and projects and laid a strong foundation for continued efforts.
Our friends at Greenlining worked closely with GCC staff to convene and host the Climate Equity Strategy Working Group and collaborate on strategy and agenda setting. Greenlining also conducted and presented research on transformative climate investment strategies, including green jobs and operationalizing equity, which guided the development of a shared vision emphasizing community-driven investment.
Drawing from Greenlining’s research and input from other member organizations, the group developed a two-pronged strategy to guide their work – (1) support existing community-driven efforts to implement equitable climate investments by bringing resources to community-developed plans and visions and (2) use resident engagement to refine what a Green New Deal (GND) can accomplish on a transformative scale and develop a policy platform to embed local lessons into statewide and national GND discussions.
Our partners at APEN drafted a comprehensive Mapping Resilience report which outlines the current landscape, needs and opportunities, and existing tools, indicators, and analytical frameworks to understand community susceptibility to climate change. The soon-to-be-released report will lift up the interests of low-income communities of color and other vulnerable people and places in regional and state climate resilience and adaptation efforts.
APEN also shared community engagement strategies and ensured regional priorities were community-driven and informed by lived experiences. They led working group discussions on community vulnerability to climate impacts and made policy recommendations that emphasized depicting climate susceptibility through a lens that is both regional and impact-specific.
Participating organizations remain committed to building partnerships and offering technical support for organizations to identify and attract resources to fund climate equity projects and policies across the Bay Area. The group collectively contributed to a database of funding resources for local implementation projects. Greenling assisted the East Oakland Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative in applying for a $23 million Transformative Climate Communities implementation grant. APEN identified state funding resources to support climate resilience and community-based energy models, which they directed to local implementation projects in vulnerable communities.
GCC and our partners are working to ensure the Climate Equity Working Group persists beyond its first year. With continued support the working group will build on lessons learned from the planning phase and implement a regional climate equity strategy over the next three to five years, positioning impacted communities to shape local plans for equitable climate change adaptation and mitigation.