Investigate Options

In step 3, you'll start to consider possible solutions for your highest risks. Through brainstorming and checking how other communities have responded to similar issues, you'll build a list of potential options. Then, through inclusive community discussions, you'll reduce your list to the actions that are feasible.

By the end of this step, you’ll have a long list of solutions your community is willing to support.

Steps to Resilience
This content supports the highlighted step.

Brainstorm potential solutions

  • Develop a wide-ranging list of strategies that could reduce risk.

Though some community members may already have a favored solution in mind for protecting specific assets, now is the time to think expansively to come up with a range of potential actions that could reduce risk. The larger and more diverse your pool of suggestions, the more likely you are to identify a response that addresses your main problems and offers additional co-benefits.

Analyzing past events can be an efficient way to identify potential solutions: working backwards from a negative impact, look for any points in the process at which an intervention could have improved the outcome. Follow a similar process to identify actions that could be effective in preventing future damage.

The following prompts may help you elicit additional innovative solutions:

  • If money were no object, what would you do?
  • Is there a partial solution that you could implement now, and complement it with further action at a later time?
  • What steps could improve resilience without spending any money?
  • Could a public education campaign reduce risk by raising awareness of an issue?


Learn from others

  • Explore case studies and adaptation planning resources.

This site offers a collection of brief case studies that document how people are building resilience to climate threats. Using the available filters, you may find an account of how others responded when they faced the same climate threat or stressor as you. Consider if some part of their response is a possible option or strategy for your effort.

The Toolkit also offers access to reports released by a range of government and non-government organizations. Use filters on the Reports page to find content, such as adaptation planning resources, relevant to your topic of interest. 

Keep building your list of potential solutions and strategies.


Evaluate potential solutions

  • Decide which of your options represent viable actions.

Think through each option thoroughly. Project forward in time to imagine that a solution is in place, and then ask: Would the option have improved the outcome of past events? Will it be robust enough to handle the range of climate threats projected for the future?

In some cases, an option may seem like a great solution, but is not feasible if your group has no way to implement it or if the costs to implement it far exceed your budget. And some options may have unintended consequences.

Assess each of your options and categorize them as feasible, potentially feasible, or not feasible.


Refine your goals

  • Consider what you’ve learned and reassess where you’re going.

With a sense of the risk to various assets and a table of favored solutions in hand, ask yourselves if the planned scope of your project is still appropriate. Hold an open conversation to take stock of your current effort.

Consider if you need to reframe your focus or engage additional stakeholders. Check with each of your stakeholders to see if they are still committed to the evolving project. Recognize that some individuals may decide to form subgroups to focus more narrowly on their own issues of interest. As necessary, adjust your expectations and refine your goals.


Decision point

  • Are community members committed to the goals you identified?

If so, move on to Step 4. If not, go through step 3 again, searching for solutions the community will support.

Instructions on these pages encourage you to gather specific types of information. You may find it convenient to download this prepared spreadsheet and use it to record input as you move through the steps. 

Access the Steps to Resilience Glossary for definitions and examples of words related to resilience.

References for Steps to Resilience

Overview of Steps to Resilience

Last modified
19 September 2023 - 11:57am