Photos: From the right: Powers, Edwards, Dixson, Carson.
Session A15: The Rush to Resilience
Moderator: Jay Carson – C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Warren Edwards – Community and Regional Research Institute
Bob Dixson – City of Greensburg, KS
Jonathan Powers – White House Council on Environmental Quality
GreenBuild got off to a great start with “The Rush to Resilience,” a panel on challenges and strategies for climate change adaptation. Moderated by Jay Carson of C-40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the panel included Maj. Gen. Warren Edwards, Director of the Community and Regional Research Institute; Bob Dixon, Mayor of Greensburg, Kansas; and Jonathan Powers, Federal Environmental Executive at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Though the panelists represent diverse interests and backgrounds, they all emphasized community-level awareness, education, and preparation as key to truly successful resiliency and sustainability. Edwards pointed out that when outside entities develop tools or strategies that can be used to increase resilience, they often fail to consider whether they will be used by those who need them. Community input from the start can help produce the right tools to incentivize change.
Powers spoke to how the Obama Administration, as part of its Climate Action Plan, is collaborating with stakeholders at the state, local, and tribal level through the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. He emphasized that Federal resources, tools, and technical knowledge should be strategically applied using guidance from on-the-ground stakeholders. Powers also discussed the close link between climate preparedness and national security; and mentioned returning U.S. veterans as both an inspiration to him and an important, highly skilled resource for expanding industries such as renewable energy.
For Mayor Dixson, resilience at the local level is very real and very personal. In 2007, 95% of Greensburg, KS was destroyed in a tornado. Since he took office in 2008, Dixson has worked to rebuild the city setting ambitious goals for resiliency and sustainability, including a commitment to 100% LEED Platinum government buildings. Greensburg embodies Dixson’s belief that we should strive to act as “owners, not renters” of our built environments by investing in our cities, engaging in our communities, and leaving behind a better world.
Event Recap by Rebecca Ferdman, Project Assistant