Developing Global Programs To Promote Resiliency
Climate change is gaining momentum as global warming heats up. The impact on nations, cities, farms and ecosystems is rising fast. People are growing increasingly frustrated with elected officials who refuse to prevent and prepare for the consequences of inaction.
A PR firm in Phoenix, Arizona has developed two global programs that can make a difference today. One promotes forest conservation, reforestation and urban forestry. The second program promotes sustainable and resilient cities. The company seeks allies and sponsors to help make them a reality.
“The conversation about climate action involves much more than fossil fuels,” says Gary Chandler, president of Crossbow Communications. “Deforestation, sustainable cities, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity are issues that demand attention. If our ecosystems fail, we fail.”
Deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming and climate change. Deforestation also cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Destroying these carbon sinks also threatens entire watersheds, endangered species and endangered cultures.
Global tree cover loss reached a record 29.7 million hectares (73.4 million acres) in 2016 and it continued at the same pace through 2017. Much of the loss is happening in tropical rainforests, which are vital hotspots for biodiversity, including many endangered species.
The annual loss of forests now covers an area about the size of New Zealand. Forest fires contributed to the recent spike. Deforestation due to agriculture, logging, and mining continue to drive global tree cover loss.
Energy conservation, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are all part of the solution to humanity’s contribution to global warming and climate change, but we need proven carbon capture strategies to help restore balance to our atmosphere. We need forests more than ever.
To tackle those issues and more, Chandler has developed Sacred Seedlings, a program that promotes forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. The company already has a foothold across Africa. Chandler is working with NGOs across Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. They have 16 comprehensive projects planned and ready.
“With our help, they can put their plans and programs into action,” Chandler said. “They need sponsors, donors and volunteers for maximum impact.”
Chandler has developed a program called Greener Cities, which promotes sustainable and resilient cities.
As Chandler explains, cities around the world are home to about 50 percent of the world’s population. They generate 80 percent of our planet’s greenhouse gases – the primary human contributor to climate change. Meanwhile, many communities are bracing for the increasing threats of fires, droughts, floods, severe weather, population displacement, and others. Community leaders and citizens around the world must be informed, motivated and empowered to become part of the solution.
Unfortunately, few local communities have the ability to engage their citizens in developing a common vision around this issue. Some need guidance on a collaborative process to achieve consensus. Others need help outlining the spectrum of actions that they can take to cut pollution, save energy, conserve water and promote health and sustainability. Other communities around the world already are in contingency mode and need help mitigating the impacts of climate change on their homes and businesses.
Many community leaders need coaching to bring all stakeholder groups to the table to discuss opportunities, threats, resources, and priorities. As communities begin planning, they need comprehensive guidance regarding the full range of possible actions to consider in their plans. Many communities are limiting their sustainability visions to the energy efficiency of city buildings and vehicle fleets. They need to learn from other cities that have embraced a broader spectrum of possible actions such as investments, tax policies, water use, tree management, open space, expanded recycling efforts, and many others.
The concept of sustainable living is not new, but it is experiencing growing interest again because of rising energy costs, depleted natural resources, polluted natural resources, population growth, and concerns about climate change and diminishing resources. At the local level, comprehensive and collaborative visioning and planning efforts, followed by numerous actions, will be a key to success. Civic leaders need guidance and resources to engage all stakeholders. They need role models, case studies, networks, mentors, financial assistance, and incentives to help them exchange experiences and resources. These resources and processes can help minimize civic gridlock and promote rapid progress in our race for sustainability for future generations.
The results of a recent survey conducted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the first of its kind, measures how and to what extent local governments are acting to promote sustainability. It indicates that most city leaders need help on many levels to develop successful sustainability plans.
“Sustainability has emerged as a major public policy issue facing countries throughout the world,” writes James H. Svara, director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Professor in the School of Public Affairs. “Sustainability requires a broad range of actions that must include contributions from all levels of government, from all sectors of the economy, and from all of the citizenry. City and county governments are uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the effort. They are directly involved in providing or regulating many of the human activities that affect resource use, promote economic development, and affect the protection and inclusion of persons from all economic levels and racial and ethnic groups.