What can we do to address the coming climate crisis while at the same time grow our local community and its economic and social institutions? During 2021, we began a Climate Action Plan (CAP) process to provide a roadmap.
When the CAP is completed (Spring 2022), it will be a much-needed blueprint for broad, community-supported reduction of local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to be measured against CEAC’s recent Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The plan will address the three biggest sources of this county’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: agriculture, transportation and buildings (heating/cooling/lighting).
During the summer of 2021, CEAC’s core planning team interviewed over 50 community leaders who hold various roles around the county — to get their views on how to best address local GHG emissions. We wanted to learn from them what they see as likely changes in their area of activity, related to GHG’s in the next 5 to 10 years. We asked about any specific anti-greenhouse gas actions they are considering.
How did we get to this point? Work on creating the Climate Action Plan began with two Climate Roundtables in February and June 2021. They were attended by over 60 people who are working on how best to locally address climate change.
Workshops followed for the core planning team of about a dozen knowledgeable and active county residents. We developed a list of possible strategic goals for the year 2030.
The core planning group then started the work of defining actions that could be taken to advance each of the strategic goals. Each potential action was assessed in a group process against three criteria:
• Is it likely to be supported by community partners? Is it politically feasible?
• Will implementation advance equity within the community? Does it address the needs of vulnerable or historically marginalized populations?
• When implemented, would it be game-changing in terms of reducing GHG releases?
At a January, 2022, workshop, participants started to identify key implementers and partners for each of the selected actions.
The final plan will identify steps that can realistically be taken locally to reduce climate pollution while moving toward a local economy that is sustainable in the long term. We’ll identify existing and future business and “green jobs” opportunities. Individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions will note defined roles they can play in the plan.
It’s our intention that the plan will help guide and coordinate the actions of community sectors including education, agriculture, business, industry, local and state government, nonprofits, and major institutions such as Middlebury College and Porter Hospital. We plan to complete the Climate Action Plan in the first quarter of 2022.
CEAC is being assisted in some of this work by an expert consulting company called paleBLUEdot, which has already helped about 50 communities develop similar plans.
Do you have suggestions or questions about the climate action plan — or would you like to become involved in the process? If so, email email@example.com.