4 Steps to a Climate Savvy Community: Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Climate-informed Equitable Community Development
Rapid Climate Vulnerability Assessments (RCVAs) enable people to see where community vulnerabilities intersect with climate stressors. Vulnerability assessments aren’t new. Natural resource managers have been using them to document and adapt to climate change events for over a decade. But use of an RCVA by communities for local planning (development, services, resources) is just beginning. This particular tool was developed for the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) to create climate-savvy investments that perpetuate inclusive, equitable, sustainable community development practices that also contribute to community health and well-being. Designed and piloted with some SPARCC communities, the RCVA allows users to quickly identify core challenges, immediate interventions, and resources to support climate informed actions going forward.
This RCVA is a simple, four-step process designed to evaluate community vulnerability to climate change while collaboratively finding solutions. The RCVA starts with the community members’ existing local goals and priorities, and helps communities make connects between people and the environment by considering how their activities might be affected by the many impacts of climate change—from hotter summers to rising seas. By considering both existing stressors relating to health, equity or any other community priorities, and the effects of climate change, RCVAs enable people to understand how climate change directly affects their lives. Once those initial links are made, community members collaborate in the workshop (and after) to address vulnerabilities and foster what the community cares about. That leads to decisions about investment and revitalization that support all members of the community, including the most vulnerable, to better withstand the effects of climate change. RCVAs provide a common language so leaders and advocates across the housing, transportation, environmental, health and social justice fields can collaborate.
Using readily available climate data, local knowledge and simple worksheets, RCVAs guide you from awareness of the risk from climate change for your work to collaboratively developing durable solutions to reduce that risk, while creating a just, healthy and sustainable future.
Hansen, L.J. and M. Ramirez. 2020. Rapid Climate Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Climate-Informed Equitable Community Development. Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Community Challenge.