The Michigan Climate Coalition: Enhancing Networking and Collaboration, Communication, and Action Around Climate Change in Michigan
The Michigan Climate Coalition (MCC), founded in 2010, brings together individuals from non-profit organizations, businesses, government, and educational institutions to enhance networking and collaboration, communication, and action around climate change and adaptation for Michigan. The MCC website – www.miclimatecoalition.org – includes resources, events, funding opportunities, and contact information for those interested in climate science, adaptation, sustainability, and related disciplines.
In 2009-2010, Michigan State University (MSU) launched the Climate Change Leadership Fellows Program, which was intended to enhance the state’s capacity to deal with climate change. The Program was part of a larger Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station-funded project intended to encourage and provide opportunities for interactions between MSU and key stakeholders in climate change. Fellows included individuals from public and private sectors in Michigan, such as the Michigan Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Limnotech, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Farm Bureau, City of East Lansing, and others.
The Program was focused on two climate change-related initiatives: (1) a Distinguished Lecture Series on Climate Change that brought leading researchers and policy makers to MSU, and (2) a Climate Change Symposium focused on Michigan’s Climate Action Plan as well as previous MSU climate change conferences. Fellows had an opportunity to engage with speakers individually and then meet with the larger group for facilitated discussions and to work on a collaborative project. Although no concrete products came out of this engagement, many of the fellows went on to form the MCC. The goal of the MCC is to foster synergy through information, communication, and action to help Michigan respond to climate change. Funding for the project was provided by a small internal grant for $15K to house the MCC website (www.miclimatecoalition.org).
Founded in November 2010, the MCC is a partnership of universities, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, and is open to anyone interested in climate science, sustainability, and related issues. The MCC is primarily focused on three objectives:
- Networking and collaboration. The “Climate ID” project collects climate-related information about work being done in Michigan to provide a single point of access for those interested in tracking and engaging in climate change efforts to help reduce duplication of climate efforts and encourage collaboration. This includes information such as reports, initiatives, events, and funding opportunities and are shared through the MCC website (www.miclimatecoalition.org).
- Communication and translation. The MCC translates technical reports and other documents to make the information more accessible and understandable by a wider audience. This helps to better link the scientific community and decision makers.
- Action and filling in gaps. The MCC identifies where there are gaps in knowledge to facilitate identification and development of targeted research to fill those gaps.
The MCC has also formed 10 topic-specific subgroups that organize climate change activities and research by sector including: agriculture, coastal and Great Lakes, education and outreach, energy, forests, health, inland waters, municipalities and transportation, land use and planning, and wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems.
Outcomes and Conclusions
Individual MCC Working Groups have brought together people from public and private organizations that would not necessarily have had a chance to connect and discuss climate change and adaptation. Additionally, many MCC Working Groups have organized conferences or symposiums to facilitate broader information sharing with other sectors and across different issues. The hope is to understand where gaps exist, identify redundancies, and discover ways in which diverse issues can be addressed collaboratively. The MCC is currently trying to raise additional funds to hire a part-time coordinator.
Kershner, J. M. (2012). The Michigan Climate Coalition: Enhancing Networking and Collaboration, Communication and Action Around Climate Change in Michigan [Case study on the Michigan Climate Coalition]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: www.cakex.org/case-studies/michigan-climate-coalition-enhancing-network… (Last updated October 2012)