Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA, chair of the Resilient Communities for America Campaign, unveiled a roadmap to resiliency at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) National Leadership Speaker Series event. In a speech at the National Press Club, Johnson outlined an agenda to fortify American communities to thrive amidst more extreme weather and escalating disasters.
“By fostering resilient communities, we will forge a more resilient America. As mayors, I know we’ll do our part to anticipate these threats, limit their impacts and make the necessary preparations to recover smarter, greener and stronger,” said Johnson. “Resiliency is really about leadership to strengthen and safeguard communities. It will create jobs. It will save us money. It will make us more energy secure. It will power innovation. It will make us more competitive. And it will fuel future prosperity.”
“We’re dealing with a new normal marked by more extreme weather and more frequent disasters,” said Jason Hartke, vice president of national policy at USGBC. “Thankfully, our leaders are taking action and coalescing around a new resilience agenda because we know that preparedness pays back, that resilience saves money, significantly improves our built environment and more importantly, that it saves lives.”
The Resilient Communities for America (RC4A) Campaign, supported by USGBC, ICLEI-USA, the National League of Cities and the World Wildlife Fund, has already brought together more than 90 city and county leaders under an agreement to begin safeguarding their communities from the effects of climate change while bolstering their local economies. Forty-five mayors and other local leaders were inaugural signatories at the RC4A campaign launch event, which was announced at USGBC’s National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and National Security in the 21st Century in June.
“Fortunately, our cities are already leading the way in implementing many critical climate resilient policies. But to be successful we have to get these clean energy and smart planning strategies to scale and we have to share best practices among cities in real time. ICLEI USA and the Resilient Communities for America Campaign are committed to doing just that," said Mike Schmitz, Executive Director, ICLEI.
The USGBC National Leadership Speaker Series is an ongoing forum for promoting a strategic vision for “resiliency” and features keynote speakers who are playing a leadership role in creating a safer, stronger and more sustainable future.
Echoing the powerful role cities play as facilitators of resilience, the American Institute of Architects released a new study, Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy, during the pre-luncheon press conference. The study reiterates that “22 federal disasters have been declared just from April to July 2013, including fires in California and Colorado, flooding in the Midwest, and the tornadoes in Oklahoma.”
Cities are the most significant players in dealing with resilience. As past AIA president, Clark Manus, remarked, “Cities have the ability to adapt and innovate and lead politically and economically, serving as the nation’s engines of growth.”