No community in America is immune to the increasingly frequent and severe impacts of our changing climate. Every season, more communities across the country have been forced to confront severe weather events, heat waves, drought, wildfires, flooding from storms and sea level rise, and other anticipated local impacts of climate change. And, The National Climate Assessment shows that these adverse impacts will increase in frequency and intensity.
Consequently, local community planning and action for climate preparedness has gained a strong sense of urgency for local leaders. Local government must act to prevent impacts in three critical community systems — the social, physical, and natural systems. The obvious climate impacts like injury and illness among community citizens can stress emergency, medical, and mental health services. Economic loss from property damage and loss of work can cause long lasting problems. Damage to critical infrastructure, and to public and private property, can cost millions in repairs and economic losses. As can the weakening or damage to natural systems that we rely upon for protection and sustenance.
Every community’s likely impacts will differ, so each community must bring together local government agencies, major employers, local utilities, emergency preparedness and relief services, and residents to study and plan for the specific impacts that are anticipated for their community. Get started with your community climate preparedness plan with the resources below.