Washington, D.C. — As severe weather events have made painfully clear, climate change disproportionately harms those who are already struggling with social and economic inequality. In order to highlight solutions to the dual problems of poverty and climate change, the Center for American Progress has released a case study of Cleveland, Ohio. The city, which faces staggering poverty, is nevertheless emerging as a national leader in initiatives to build climate resilience in low-income communities.
“Many of Cleveland’s initiatives are truly inspiring and could be used as templates for other urban areas,” said Gwynne Taraska, Senior Policy Advisor at CAP and a co-author of the case study. “The city is clearly committed to climate justice and a progressive, integrated approach to climate change and poverty.”
Cleveland is simultaneously experiencing high levels of poverty and climate impacts in the form of increased temperatures and intense precipitation. Since climate impacts tend to hit lower-income communities the hardest, Cleveland has developed initiatives that respond to the most-immediate challenges of low-income communities—such as food insecurity, vacant lots, and unemployment—while simultaneously building climate resilience. For instance, the introduction of urban agriculture has improved food security, improved health, and replaced vacant lots with vegetation, which combats the urban heat island effect.
As the Sustainable Cleveland Summit—now underway—highlights, Cleveland’s neighborhood-level movement to build climate resilience and economic opportunity should provide other urban areas with innovative ideas to assist low-income communities and combat climate change at the same time.
Click here to read the case study.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at email@example.com or 202.481.7141.