Tools for Equitable Climate Resilience

Communities across the United States are increasingly impacted by climate change and face growing problems like property damage, health concerns, and safety issues as a result of flooding and extreme heat. Inadequate wastewater treatment and lack of access to safe and affordable drinking water in many communities compound these threats.

With the support of the Kresge Foundation, River Network embarks on the journey of exploring climate resiliency strategies and equitable engagement of communities in climate resilience work. This two-part toolkit presents Community-Led Research and Knowledge and Leadership Development as essential tools for addressing the diverse risks posed by climate change.

Each respective tool provides case studies regarding community-led research and leadership development, as well as comprehensive descriptions of the theory and practice of each strategy. These tools are grounded in showcasing the experts who are already implementing such strategies successfully in their communities, and bringing their experience to the table for the benefit of other community leaders who are championing similar efforts.

The Community Leadership Toolkit aims to build the capacity of organizations to serve as catalysts in supporting members of their communities stepping into leadership roles, engaging them meaningfully in defining the scope of local climate change risks and impacts, and formulating and implementing equitable solutions.

It will help you answer questions like:

  • Why is Leadership Development important?
  • What are the different types of Leadership Development programs?
  • How do I build a program that’s right for my organization?

By allowing this resource to be fully informed by on-the-ground practitioners of leadership development, we hope to offer an authentic collection of engaging ideas on the topic.

The Community-Led Research Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance and lessons learned on how to effectively engage with community members to understand climate impacts and to develop more equitable climate resilience strategies. 

It will help you answer questions like: 

  • What is Community-Led Research and Knowledge? 
  • Why should you do Community-Led Research? 
  • What are the benefits of Community-Led Research? 
  • How do I conduct Community-Led Research? 

The toolkit also has real-world Community-Led Research case studies, a Community-Led Research Project Planning and Facilitation Guide, and extensive lists of references and resources. 

On March 12, 2021, we shared the Community Leadership Toolkit with the network and heard real-world case studies from two of the featured organizations. Watch to get acquainted with the toolkit and hear from your peers!

Watch the recording on YouTube here.

On March 8, 2021, we shared the Community-Led Research Toolkit with the network, heard real-world case studies, and explored the applications to our members’ work. Watch to get acquainted with the toolkit and hear from your peers!

Watch the recording on YouTube here and download additional resources.

Since publishing the toolkits, we’ve been working with local organizations to develop their own programs that serve their communities. Hear from Defensores de la Cuenca (Cheverly, Maryland) and Wellington Water Watchers (Guelph, Ontario) about how they’ve leaned into the design and planning process to build two unique and responsive leadership development programs that elevate emerging leaders and changemakers.

Watch the recording on YouTube here.

Go deeper with this story map, which highlights Community-Led Research based on the Fostering Community-Led Research and Knowledge toolkit and climate resilience and water equity work with 14 communities in the network. Four community projects are highlighted in more detail. Scroll below to view the story map, or view the story here.

Want to learn more about Equitable Climate Resilience, Leadership Development, and Community-Led Research?

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