Ramping Up To Be A Lean, Green, Equitable Machine

August 30, 2022 2:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Climate Equity In Cincinnati, OH

Prior to completing the Climate Equity Benchmarking Analysis Report, the City of Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati, Green Umbrella, Groundwork Ohio River Valley, and Adaptation International collaborated to complete the Cincinnati Climate Equity Indicators Report in 2021. The data revealed the differences in quality of life in each of the 52 neighborhoods, and quantitatively demonstrated why some communities were more vulnerable to climate change than others. Factors such as tree canopy coverage, proximity to pollution sources, and high percentages of impervious surfaces all contribute to higher incidence of respiratory diseases amongst other health problems. To better prepare all Cincinnati communities for the climate crisis, the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Sustainability commissioned Green Umbrella to examine innovative climate equity plans, ordinances and initiatives in 20 U.S cities. 

Our Approach

Our analysis drew from evaluation and data measurement methods developed by the Institute for Sustainable Communities and Georgetown Climate Center. The case studies were then selected based on their proximity to Cincinnati, population size, and ability to demonstrate actionable strategies that equitably improve quality of life for community members. Cities included: 

Cleveland,OH Milwaukee, WI New Orleans, LA  Oakland, CA 
Chicago, IL Carmel, IN Austin, TX Los Angeles, CA
St Paul, MN Providence, RI Houston, TX Santa Ana, CA
Bloomington, IN Baltimore, MD Portland, OR Tucson, AZ
Bloomington, IN Ithaca, NY Seattle, WA Phoenix, AZ

Kamikatsu, Japan and Paris, France served as international examples. National case studies included the Whitehouse Justice40 online community engagement portal, a national community resilience hub training network, and the Climate Justice Act of Illinois. 

Identified strategies were then organized around eight key “Focus Areas” that local governments can take action on to draw down greenhouse gas emissions, improve the predictability of their budgets, and address inequities. Focus Area categories included City Operations, Buildings & Energy, Education and Outreach, Food, Mobility, Natural Environment, Mobility, Resilience, and Zero Waste. The analysis also categorized case studies by five types of equity: 

  • Recognition Equity: Identifying and acknowledging injustices affecting specific populations

  • Procedural Equity: Addressing power structures and access to participation in decision-making

  • Distributional Equity: Addressing the distribution of burdens and benefits across different populations

  • Restorative Equity: Making a commitment to correct past harms and facilitate repair

  • Transformative Equity:Addressing underlying structural conditions that are the root cause of social and racial injustices. Strategies cultivate accountability, reduce harm, and prevent future unintended consequences.

We created a sortable matrix of the 400+ strategies, and then identified themes within the different types of equity–the report provides descriptions of these themes, as well as guiding questions to support communities in the development of their own tailored approaches.

Read the full Climate Equity Analysis Benchmarking Report here!

Next Steps

Currently, Green Umbrella is continuing to support the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan process by participating in the Equity Committee and generating one-pagers for every Focus Area Subcommittee on the relevant themes from the report. We are also partnering with Groundwork Ohio River Valley to co-lead the Climate Safe Community Series, which is four meetings to engage underserved community members across 11 of our Cincinnati most climate vulnerable neighborhoods. The findings from the report are supporting our direct engagement, catalyzing and aligning with ideas from local residents.

Green Umbrella is also committed to ensuring these equitable themes support communities across our 10-county region and inform the development of actions led by the recently launched Greater Cincinnati Regional Climate Collaborative. 

Take action right now through the following: 

  • If you’re a Cincinnati resident, attend one of the upcoming public Focus Area Meetings.

  • Complete our Regional Climate Collaborative Launch Survey before October 5 to ensure your voice is included in our assessment of climate impacts and desired climate actions!

  • Join a Regional Climate Collaborative Working Group Feedback Session to share your thoughts on what kind of equitable climate actions you want to see in your community, and how Green Umbrella can support action and provide resources. 

If you have any questions or comments on the report, reach out to the Green Umbrella Climate Policy Team: Savannah (savannah@greenumbrella.org) and Tyeisha (tyeisha@greenumbrella.org)!

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