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Everything You Want to Know About Climate Communications

Want to know how to talk about climate change in your community? How to make the moral case for climate action? What the experts say about effective climate communications?

The Resource Innovation Group offers an excellent collection of resources based on listening to the needs of “climate practitioners”.  TRIG’s describes its mission this way:

A bridge between research and action. For years, we at TRIG’s Social Capital Project have been hearing from climate practitioners that this is what they need. Those in government and nonprofits trying to communicate to the public about climate change say that they often lack the time and resources to digest the latest research and incorporate it into their campaigns. Similarly, researchers wish to know more about how their findings are playing out in the field. Everyone wants to know what they need to know, and to have it available at their fingertips.

Climate Access is that bridge.

In the fall of 2011, The Resource Innovation Group’s Social Capital Project, in partnership with the Rutgers Initiative on Climate and Society and theStonehouse Standing Circle, launched Climate Access to provide climate communications thinkers and doers with access to the necessary tools, knowledge and people. This is all in the name of increasing public support for climate policies and engagement in programs that help people, organizations and communities change their energy and other carbon-intensive behaviors.

TRIG’s website provides links to a Resource Hub, a compilation of communications and behavior-change campaigns, a blog, roundtables and a frequently updated collection of “tips and tools”.

Check it out.

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Make Your City More Disaster Resilient

If you are looking for ways to make your city more resilient — in other words, better able to withstand and recover from disasters — a growing collection of  handbooks is available, offering detailed advice. Here are two:

* The Center for Climate Strategies offers an Adaptation Guidebook for communities to improve their resilience to the impacts of global climate change.

* The United Nations has published a handbook  for local government leaders, with a “generic framework” for risk reduction. The handbook, written for an international audience and available in several languages, includes lists of best practices and tools. Here is a sample:

The Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient

1. Put in place organisation and coordination to understand and reduce disaster risk, based on participation of citizen groups and civil society. Build local alliances. Ensure that all departments understand their role in disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
2. Assign a budget for disaster risk reduction and provide incentives for homeowners, low income families, communities, businesses and the public sector to invest in reducing the risks they face.
3. Maintain up to date data on hazards and vulnerabilities. Prepare risk assessments and use these as the basis for urban development plans and decisions, ensure that this information and the plans for your city’s resilience are readily available to the public and fully discussed with them.
4. Invest in and maintain critical infrastructure that reduces risk, such as flood drainage, adjusted where needed to cope with climate change.
5. Assess the safety of all schools and health facilities and upgrade these as necessary.
6. Apply and enforce realistic, risk compliant building regulations and land use planning principles. Identify safe land for low income citizens and upgrade informal settlements, wherever feasible.
7. Ensure that education programmes and training on disaster risk reduction are in place in schools and local communities.
8. Protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards to which your city may be vulnerable. Adapt to climate change by building on good risk reduction practices.
9. Install early warning systems and emergency management capacities in your city and hold regular public preparedness drills.
10. After any disaster, ensure that the needs of the affected population are placed at the centre of reconstruction, with support for them and their community organisations to design and help implement responses, including rebuilding homes and livelihoods.

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Where Are the Big Greenhouse Gas Emitters?

Where are the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in your state or near your city? An interactive map from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows where they were in 2011, the first year that large sources were required to report their emission levels to EPA.

The map shows big emitters by sector, type of gas and geographic location. EPA says power plants remain the largest stationary source of greenhouse gases, accounting for about one-third of the nation’s total. Petroleum and natural gas systems were second and refineries third.

Click here to access the map.