Blog

Alaskan Native Villages, Climate Change & a Trump Administration Whistle Blower

According to the Washington Post, Joel Clement, the former top climate policy official at the Department of the Interior filed a complaint and a whistle blower disclosure form with the Office of the Special Counsel. He says the Trump administration is threatening public health and safety by trying to silence scientists like him. Clement believes he was retaliated against for speaking out about the dangers that climate poses to Alaska Native communities.

At Model Forest Policy Program we have a high level of interest in this story. 

Native Village of Elim

Native Village of Elim

In the past few years we have worked with six Alaskan Native villages along the coastline in the Norton Sound region through our Climate Solutions University program.

During this time we have learned from them about the challenges of Arctic life for people and the wildlife they depend upon. In turn, we have helped them learn about how to adapt their life to the drastic changes coming from shifting climate conditions in the Arctic, where it is warming twice as fast as anywhere else in the world.

We’ve been working with villages there to document climate change risks and identify priorities and implementation strategies needed to move forward.

Earlier this summer, Climate Solutions University curriculum leaders Dr. Gwen Griffith and Deb Kleinman traveled to Nome, Alaska to co-lead a climate adaptation and implementation workshop for the native villages.

The purpose was to facilitate the transition of the tribes from adaptation planning to implementing their action priorities. Through a series of presentations and small group conversations, the villages began creating a work plan to move forward with their most important projects.

Workshop Participants

Workshop Participants

Griffith & Kleinman met with tribal leaders from the native villages of Golovin, Elim, Koyuk, Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, and Shishmaref. The village of Teller is also a participant in the program but was unable to attend the workshop.

According to Kleinman, “The importance of meeting in person to understand context is critical. One must get into the villages to understand their unique situations. The Alaskan native villages are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. The people’s lives are so intertwined to the landscape and environment.  Some of the villages are actually at risk of falling into the sea, displacing residents.”

Kleinman continued, “Their remote location greatly reduces their capacity to respond to a natural or human disaster. If an emergency happened, there are not enough hospital beds to adequately respond. These communities know what is happening and their largest climate vulnerabilities. What they need are resources to address their issues.”

Deb Kleinman, Climate Solutions University Curriculum Leader

Griffith added, “We were able to see first-hand how remote and vulnerable these villages are to the rapid loss of sea ice, eroding shorelines, and frequent floods. One night we spent in Golovin, one villager stayed up all night as their flood warning system because of stormy weather.

Gwen Griffith, Climate Solutions University Curriculum Director

That storm would not have been a threat a few decades ago but now coastal flooding has become a regular occurrence. Our program is committed to helping the villages get the technical assistance and resources they need to adapt to these changes without losing their natural heritage and cultural traditions that have kept them in harmony with the land and the sea for thousands of years.”

Model Forest Policy Program looks forward to continuing our work with the tribes, and tracking their progress as their implement their adaptation priorities!

Where does your community need support as it adapts to climate change? Email Josh@mfpp.org to discuss how we can partner with you on an adaptation project.

Funding! Partners for Places RFP Now Open

Partners for Places is a matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations.

National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents.

The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations.

Email josh@mfpp.org if you’d like to partner on a project and jointly apply for funding to accomplish climate adaptation goals!

Climate Adaptation Planning After Natural Disasters

Local communities need to plan for how they will adapt to increased wildfires, floods, drought, storm intensity, sea level rise, and more.

Communities often find Hazard Mitigation Planning complicated, expensive, and feel they lack the capacity to address these challenges.

Also, many Hazard Mitigation Plans only have historic data that is no longer sufficient. With climate change, data based on projected future conditions is vital to effective planning.

However, there is good news! After a declared presidential disaster, communities may access FEMA funds to develop a full climate adaptation plan and receive training in how to update Hazard Mitigation Plans with current climate data.

This is possible through funding from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

If awarded funding, communities can contract with our Climate Solutions University program to complete a climate adaptation plan. While we cannot apply directly for this funding, a community may apply to receive our services.

FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The grantee must provide a 25 percent match, which can be fashioned from a combination of cash and in-kind sources.

For more information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer or the FEMA Regional Office in your area.

For more information on Climate Solutions University, contact Josh Dye at 612-481-8059 or email josh@mfpp.org.

Do You Need Help Adding Climate Change to Emergency Planning?

Climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of natural disasters. Local communities need to plan for how they will adapt to increased wildfires, floods, drought, storm intensity, sea level rise, and more.

Communities often find hazard mitigation planning complicated, expensive, and feel they lack the capacity to address these challenges. Also, many Hazard Mitigation Plans only have historic data that is no longer sufficient. With climate change, data based on projected future conditions is vital to effective planning.

However, there is good news! After a declared presidential disaster, communities may access FEMA funds to develop a full climate adaptation plan and receive training in how to update Hazard Mitigation Plans with current climate data. This is possible through funding from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

If awarded funding, communities can contract with our Climate Solutions University program to complete a climate adaptation plan. While we cannot apply directly for this funding, a community may apply to receive our services.
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The grantee must provide a 25 percent match, which can be fashioned from a combination of cash and in-kind sources.

Funding from other federal sources cannot be used for the 25 percent share with one exception. Funding provided to states under the Community Development Block Grant program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development can be used to meet the non-federal share requirement.

For more information on the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer or the FEMA Regional Office in your area.

For more information on Climate Solutions University, contact Josh Dye at 612-481-8059 or email josh@mfpp.org.

 

More about Model Forest Policy Program and Climate Solutions University

Model Forest Policy Program is a national nonprofit that builds the capacity of communities to be climate resilient by sustaining water resources, productive forests, citizens’ wellbeing, and thriving economies.

Model Forest Policy Program created Climate Solutions University (CSU) to assist community leaders grappling with how to effectively respond to adverse climate impacts in the rapidly changing sphere of climate science and policy.

Climate Solutions University offers a virtual curriculum through which community leaders develop an adaptation plan that fits local priorities and resources, and our team then supports implementation of the plan with climate resilience strategies. Since 2009, 34+ U.S. communities have participated in the Plan Development program, resulting in increased local capacity to decipher complicated science, utilize analytical tools, and gather resources needed to advance their adaptation efforts.

Climate Solutions University can help your community complete a HMP-Ready Climate Adaptation Plan, or an Action Plan on how to integrate climate adaptation strategies into HMP, and/or provide technical and coaching assistance to integrate climate resilience into local Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMPs)

For example, Sustainable Sandhills, and the City of Fayetteville, NC, participated in 2015 Climate Solutions University and produced this regional plan.

With this information, Sustainable Sandhills then helped update the Cumberland Hoke Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The CSU 2015 Cumberland County Climate Resiliency Plan specifically addresses the likelihood of increased precipitation, flooding, and damaged drinking water. On October 8, 2016 Hurricane Matthew caused widespread Cape Fear River flooding in Cumberland County, adding emphasis to the importance of the climate adaptation work of Sustainable Sandhills. See below for a “before and after” photo of the Cape Fear River at a bridge crossing.

Cape Fear River Bridge Crossing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your community could benefit from climate planning and implementation, email josh@mfpp.org or call 612-481-8059.

Best Wishes for 2017 From Model Forest Policy Program!

Dear Friends,

Serving as Executive Director of Model Forest Policy Program for the past 16 years, I have witnessed tremendous growth in the field of climate adaptation.

We are now at a major crossroads in our work.

With climate skeptics on the cabinet hot list, federal funding for our collective work will likely shut down.  Such a shift makes our individual efforts to adapt to climate change crucial.

Now more than ever, action is LOCAL, and that is exactly where we focus our nonprofit’s efforts.

Through our Climate Solutions University program we work directly with cities, counties, Tribes and NGOs as they increase local and regional resilience to climate change through climate adaptation planning and implementation.

We have helped leaders in over 33 communities across the U.S. take the following actions:

  • Engage with vulnerable citizens to discover how they are impacted by climate change.
  • Build public support for climate change initiatives.
  • Calculate the value natural resources deliver to a region.
  • Develop leadership skills and organizational capacity.
  • Prioritize the risks climate change poses to local natural resources, people, and the economy.
  • And many more!

Ultimately, because of our guidance, these communities have a climate adaptation plan that gets implemented and makes a positive difference.

Without our work, the health, and in some cases survival, of ecosystems and communities of people are at much greater risk.

As we wrap up 2016 and move into 2017, your tax deductible donation will help us continue to build local capacity to achieve climate resilience and help fund the production of expert adaptation educational programming that professionals can use to protect vulnerable natural resources and communities. Please help us prepare for the future.

Thank you for your donation and support of our vital work!

Please donate online at: www.mfpp.org/ways-to-give (Razoo, Amazon Smile, or DAF)

Or, mail a check to:
Model Forest Policy Program
PO Box 328
Sagle, ID 83860

Warmest Regards,

Nancy Gilliam
Executive Director
Model Forest Policy Program