A Community Approach to Climate Resilience

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Restorative Power

Social capital improves freshwater plans and projects, thanks to the knowledge and support provided by engaged local residents. The resulting freshwater assets can then be monitored and maintained by involved neighbors whose collective efforts to rescue a local stream or protect a watershed reinforce social capital by delivering results that people can see, touch, and feel. Shared success builds community pride and reinforces the value of learning to work together.

Shelter From The Storm

Freshwater groups also have much to gain from engaging their community in efforts to enhance climate resilience. As community members begin to see the many economic, ecological, and social advantages of protecting and restoring their freshwater, they will be more likely to turn out for volunteer work days, support local ordinances for low-impact development, and be less likely to waste or intentionally pollute water. Small-scale, distributed green infrastructure alternatives to large, single-purpose stormwater or wastewater treatment plants are easier to build and maintain with the support of engaged neighborhoods and informed residents.

5 Takeaways

Whether the challenge is pollution, flooding, or drought, engaging and working effectively with diverse populations within a watershed requires the ability to recognize, tap, build, and sustain the social capital that binds people together in a common cause. Five basic principles can guide collective efforts to protect and restore freshwater resources and build a community’s climate resilience:

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Urban Resilience Project

Urban Resilience Project

A changing climate means a changing society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project (URP) is committed to a greener, fairer future. www.islandpress.org/URP