For communities throughout the eastern United States, historic warm temperatures, rain and flooding closed out 2015 and ushered in 2016. To prepare for and to share strategies for becoming resilient to these climate impacts, Antioch University New England’s (AUNE) Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, with co-sponsorship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 1-4, will convene the 2016 Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4-6, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
“State and local governments are the first line of defense in responding to climate change challenges. Too few state and local governments have adequate research and plans in place,” said Michael Simpson, co-director for AUNE’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. “For public safety, fiscal and environmental reasons, the best opportunities local and regional governments, organizations and businesses have to recover from severe weather-related events are to prepare for them in advance.”
Addressing coastal and inland severe weather events
The 2016 Local Solutions conference will build the capacity of local, regional and state governmental decision-makers, business and organization leaders to prepare for, withstand, and respond to severe weather events that impact both coastal and inland communities. In addition to more than 20 interactive workshops and walking tours, the convening also features an Education Summit and a Business Continuity track.
“EPA is regularly helping States and communities respond to major weather events, and we are acutely aware of the need to increase capacity in the east coast to build infrastructure and protect natural environments that will help increase the resiliency of communities as we adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. This conference will convene experts and those with planning and response experience to educate us all,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England (Region 1) office.
Building on success
The 2016 conference builds on the success of the May 2014 Local Solutions conference in New Hampshire, and the affiliated webinar series, which Antioch produced in partnership with EPA. The three-day gathering will bring together local elected and appointed decision makers, state and regional energy, environment, public health and planning personnel, climate change and emergency preparedness professionals, business leaders and the academic and research community to share vetted and effective strategies for ensuring their communities are ready to face a host of environmental issues. The conference is designed to serve decision makers throughout the Eastern United States.
The conference programs build on the expertise of the event’s Steering and Advisory Committees, representing a broad and diverse mix of federal, state and municipal officials, climate experts, environmental organizations, educators, and private businesses. The cities of Baltimore, Hoboken, New York, Norfolk, and Philadelphia have contributed leadership in shaping the program as well as the Atlanta Regional Commission, Broward County (Fla.), the Washington Council of Governments, the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, among other leaders.
Renowned energy scientist and researcher Mark Jacobson to deliver keynote address
Cutting-edge clean energy researcher and atmospheric scientist Dr. Mark Jacobson will deliver one of the conference keynote addresses and an interactive hands-on workshop. Featured in National Geographic’s 2015 climate change special issue, Jacobson is a leading voice in eliminating fossil fuels to rely solely on renewable energy – a goal he says is possible by 2050. He is co-founder of The Solutions Project, which combines science, business, and culture to develop and implement science-based clean-energy plans for states and countries. Jacobson serves as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy Program.
Registration for the conference is now open, with discounted lodging information available online. The conference also features a poster session for student-submitted applied research related to topics that support any of the conference track or session themes, from all disciplines and methodologies. Graduate or undergraduate students from the U.S. and Canada are eligible to submit an abstract for consideration. The poster submission deadline is February 28. To view the agenda, learn more about speakers, or to register for the conference, visit communityresilience-center.org/conference-2016.
For more information, including available sponsorship opportunities, contact Christa Daniels, AICP at [email protected]. The 2016 Local Solutions conference is sponsored by The Bay and Paul Foundations and Stantec.