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Notes from the EcoDistricts Summit: Mobilizing Community Assets for Climate Action Original post: Tue 11/12/2013 at 6:59 PM

Mobilizing Community Assets for Climate Action

EcoDistricts Summit – Nov 12, 2013

Name, where you're from, a person in your community who represents a sustainability “hero”

Why EcoDistricts?

Sustainability: Big Picture

What Story to Tell? Transformation

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 – ask presenter for summary description

Shared leadership, asset-based engagement – bottom-up and top-down

Leading with listening, empowering leadership at all levels

Cleveland Climate Action Plan: Building Thriving & Healthy Neighborhoods

  • co-created with many civic/community/business organizations

  • 33 climate actions; focus areas = energy efficiency & green building, advanced & renewable energy, sustainable mobility, water reduction & resource conservation, land use & clean water, community engagement & public health

  • Putting CAP into action: pilot neighborhoods (Detroit Shoreway, Kinsman, Glenville) – criteria for choosing

  • Snapshot of each neighborhood – see online

Jennifer Hirsch, PhD – Chicago – Cultural Anthropologist, Community Sustainability Specialist

Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit:

“Big Plans, Neighborhood Action” Approach – avoids silos

1. Learn about climate science and plans

2. Identify local assets and concerns

3. Develop local project ideas

4. Garner necessary outside support

5. Implement local projects

6. Share and learn with others across the city through Sustainable Cleveland 2019

build on neighborhood assets > gardening skills, land donation, diversity, active residents

address neighborhood concerns > immigration & assimilation, job creation, local food, vacant land

use outside support > grants, land bank

take climate action > see CAP

assets – built, natural, human – time banks, social media, food bank, charettes – reclaiming

community concerns – safety, youth development, reconnecting to nature, housing affordability and historic preservation, food acess and health, education, resources, alternative energy for self-sustainability, walking and biking, community entrepreneurship

Share back:

What felt new about this approach?

What was most challenging?

What new insights did you have?

Any unusual assets to share with the group?

A climate action plan that ignores the needs of stakeholders is completely irrelevant. (Cleveland & Detroit – poverty rate, jobless rate, crime, etc.) - must be fueled by people power.

David Orr – full-spectrum sustainability – the need for sustainability actions to include social equity is backed by research

asset-based (vs. concerns-based), appreciative inquiry approach = time bank approach

if people aren't helping you, maybe it's because they haven't been asked

new to Cleveland CAP website:

  • local human causes and regional impacts

  • basic climate science data visualization

  • local indicator species

  • activity – discussion questions to help people relate big issues to the lives of their communities

  • asset mapping with visual collages related to action strategies, questions to elicit stories from community members

  • do your own project – workshop guide

Jen McGraw, Sustainability Strategist, Center for Neighborhood Technology

“think and do” tank for urban sustainability – place-based solutions

housing & transportation affordability index

neighborhood GHG and climate action calculators

GHG emissions per person in 3 neighborhoods – EcoDistricts can teach the rest of the city

Elizabeth Richards, Enterprise Community Partners


Portland Sustainability Institute – Incubator; Enterprise Rose Fellowship

2020 Green – a call to action to ensure all housing with public subsidy and long term affordability requirements has the opportunity to benefit from green practices by 2020

holistic approach to building the green community – see components

What if... every neighborhood needed no outside energy for heating and cooling, produced a significant share of its electricity and fresh water, managed all of its organic waste and sewage, produced significant amounts of fresh foods, offered an array of lean, efficient mobility options, and was home to a diversity of wild species that thrive in (urban) habitat?

Resident Engagement Training in a Box: easy improvements for your home workshops

think small, specific

see website for tool kits, curriculum for resident engagement, case studies/best practices


tapping into community members' energy to lead is more sustainable because change in top leadership doesn't derail it

people don't change behavior based on information – they change behavior based on things they care about in their own backyard

sustainability | gentrification

How EcoDistricts is different – scale, partners, stakeholder engagement, targeting of resources, representation (and lack thereof)

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