Volunteer or Community Group Program

Phoenix, Arizona: Resilience AmeriCorps

City: Phoenix
Country / US State / US Territory: Arizona
Type of Solution: Volunteer / Community Group
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Social Justice and Equity for Vulnerable Communities; Community Engagement; Public Education; Diverse Transportation; Public Health and Safety; Urban Beautification; Community Wellbeing and Quality of Life

The City of Phoenix is participating in the national Resilience AmeriCorps program. The local program is called Resilient PHX. Volunteers assist low-income communities with projects to build community capacity. Resilient PHX has already completed a number of projects, such as Grandview Message Boards, Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden, and Triangle Tree Planting.

Three message boards were installed in the Grandview Neighborhood to improve communication of climate risks, such as the risks of extreme heat in vulnerable communities, specifically low-income residents, elderly residents, and renters.

Another project was the Grand Avenue Curb Cut/Rain Garden. The curb cut/rain garden improves stormwater management to prevent flooding risks during heavy precipitation events. In addition to improved stormwater management, the project created more greenspace for residents and improved aesthetics, walkability, and shade coverage.

Lastly, the Triangle Tree Planting project was a community outreach program that engaged residents in tree planting and taught residents tree maintenance in an effort to mitigate extreme heat and the heat island effect. Trees increase shade coverage, which also contributes the the walkability of the area.

Sources: City of Phoenix. (n.d.). Resilient PHX. Retrieved from https://www.phoenix.gov/volunteer/resilient-phx.

Miami, Florida: CLEAR Miami

City: Miami
Country / US State / US Territory: Florida
Type of Solution: Volunteer / Community Group Program
Climate Impact: Seal Level Rise; Hurricanes and Storm Surge; Extreme Heat and Urban Heat Island Effect; Infectious Disease
Social Value Created: Public education and awareness, community engagement, social cohesion, benefits vulnerable communities

Catalyst Miami is a community organization that has conventionally focused on providing social services, such as health coaching and financial planning. Recently, the group has begun to engage vulnerable communities in local climate initiatives.

In 2016, Catalyst Miami launched its CLEAR Miami (Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) program. CLEAR Miami is a 12 week program that teaches residents how to participate in the climate planning process, including the basics of climate change science, types of adaptation strategies, communication skills for public speaking, and how to create an asset map for their neighborhoods.

Community members learn about the risk of Seal Level Rise and Inundation, hurricanes and storm surge, extreme heat and the urban heat island effect, and the spread of infectious disease. The program focuses on financially vulnerable populations given their disproportionate level of risks to climate impacts. Those who participate in the program are provided dinner and childcare for free.

The Southeast Florida Climate Compact is working on updating an adaptation plan and developing a mitigation plan. Catalyst Miami is working on engaging residents in this planning process to ensure equitable solutions are chosen.

Fig: The first CLEAR Miami graduates (Photo retrieved from https://catalystmiami.org/climate-resilience-local-engagement/)

Fig: CLEAR Miami Youth graduates talking about why they advocate for climate change (Photo retrieved from https://catalystmiami.org/climate-resilience-local-engagement/)

Sources: Delahunty, M. (2016). Catalyst Miami launches pioneering climate resilience training in South Florida. Catalyst Miami. Retrieved from

United States Water Alliance. (2017). An equitable water future: a national briefing paper. Retrieved from http://uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/publications/uswa_waterequity_FINAL.pdf

*Note: This case was documented from an interview with a city practitioner.