Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Held in Cottage Grove
March 24 - The Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation & Development (DLCD) held a workshop for the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment on March 1st at the Cottage Grove Armory.
At the direction of Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04, the DLCD is coordinating the State of Oregon's work on the Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework. The Framework explores the impacts of climate change in Oregon and identifies how state agencies can effectively respond to them.
The multi-agency Climate Change Adaptation Framework Implementation Team that authored the Framework recommended the legislature fund a vulnerability assessment. The DLCD was granted funding in 2021. While the DLCD manages the project, it is being undertaken with input from various agencies. Twenty-four state agencies contributed to the Climate Change Adaptation Framework. The vulnerability assessment results will be shared with them and the legislature.
Many state agencies have examined how climate change will affect the regions they serve. While state agencies and policymakers have many ideas about how to adapt to a changing climate, they do not have a way to evaluate which adaptation measures best support the needs and values of communities across the state.
Instead of concentrating on infrastructure, economics, and other areas of concern, the assessment focuses on how climate change impacts people – their physical and mental health, their ability to make a living, and how they interact with their community.
A team from the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy, Research, and Engagement is conducting public engagement events for this assessment, using interviews, public workshops, and a community survey. The project is expected to finish by June of 2023.
The information may be used to inform legislation, and it will be used by state agency staff as they conceptualize, design, and implement climate change adaptation actions. The intent is to provide an idea of what people value and want to support as they adapt to climate change so that state actions can support those values.
At the workshop, the facilitators gave an overview of what can be expected by 2030 regarding the impacts of climate change in the region. Communities can expect more days of drought and higher temperatures, increasing wildfire danger, and extreme precipitation events which add to the risk of flooding and landslides. These changes directly impact water and air quality, food production, health, and risk to infrastructure.
Participants then worked together in small groups to discuss how these changes would affect their quality of life. They were asked to consider three specific subjects in their discussions: Well-being, physical and mental health; Livelihood, the ability to provide basics needs; and Community, the sense of belonging to a group or place.
Each table shared what they considered most important with the team, listing such things as clean air and water, food security, affordable housing, access to services, learning, and nature, and the importance of maintaining community connections.
Attendees included Paige Hopkins, the Climate Justice Organizer for Beyond Toxics.
When asked why she was participating in the workshop, Hopkins said, “I was interested in attending the DLCD Vulnerability Assessment Workshop because of its focus on the social impacts climate change is having and will have on the livelihoods of your community here in Oregon.
Hopkins also added, “they are headed in the right direction in capturing the experiences of those who live in Lane County where many livelihoods and well-being are impacted by climate change. I am excited and interested to see how the DLCD will use this report to inform policies in the State Legislature.”
The Institute for Policy, Research, and Engagement team will be traveling throughout the remainder of March to host workshops in additional locations throughout Oregon. Starting in April, they will begin evaluating the information gained from interviews, the workshops, and the statewide survey and draft their findings and recommendations for the report to be delivered to the Oregon State Legislature in June of 2023.
The assessment survey will be open to the public until Aprill 30th. To participate, please go to: https://uo-online.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=b067e118c3ee4126ab05493ed3e74b38.