Addressing climate issues almost always takes a trusted leader who knows how to get things done in their community—a climate champion. An effective champion, whether inside government or a member of the community at large, works with a planning team to assess climate risk and make recommendations on how to address it.
Identify a climate champion
Any leader who chooses to make protecting the community from climate hazards a top priority can be a climate champion. Often, this leader is an elected official, a sustainability coordinator, or someone who works in a local government office. Individuals who work outside of government can also serve in this role—as most community-based organizations and businesses are keenly interested in protecting local assets, individuals from these groups are well-suited to rally residents around a goal to build climate resilience.
If you are ready to serve as a climate champion, or support the efforts of others in this role, these pages can guide you through a finite process to explore your climate risk and build your climate resilience.
Build a representative team
- To ensure your efforts are inclusive, communicate your climate-related concerns to people across your networks. Speak about climate early and often, and listen carefully to feedback and additional input.
- Prepare talking points or a make presentations about potential issues and possible solutions.
- At a minimum, your core team should include government agency representatives and community leaders rooted in frontline communities. Encourage potential planning team members to see themselves making important contributions to adapt to our changing climate.
Access a prepared worksheet to compile your Planning Team Contact List »
Consult existing planning documents
Locate and examine public documents such as the Comprehensive Plan and Hazard Mitigation Plan relevant to your location.
To be eligible for federal programs such as disaster relief, ciities and counties are usually required to develop and file official planning documents, and keep public records about them. Search for these documents online or among city records.
Go through available documents and follow-on meeting notes to identify people, groups, or other information that could be relevant to your climate concerns.
- What problems, opportunities, and plans has the community already identified?
- Which of these might connect to your climate concerns?
- What groups or individuals have expressed interest in issues related to yours? If they are still active, consider joining their effort, or asking them to share what they've learned.
Announce your effort to the public
- Use relevant channels to share an overview of the project you are envisioning with the community. You may choose to
- publish a notice in a community newsletter or your local newspaper
- hold a public meeting to build awareness
- develop a post for social media
- build a webpage
Be prepared to respond to questions from community members who are just learning of the project. You may want to welcome new contributors who feel strongly about the asset you want to protect or the actions you might take to the planning team.
- As your team grows, members may bring additional climate-related concerns. The next step, Understand Exposure, will help you zero in on the things that you most want to protect and the hazards that you may need to protect them from.
You may find it useful to download and complete this prepared spreadsheet to record input as you move through the steps.
Access the Glossary for definitions and examples of words related to resilience.