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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Now displaying: September, 2017
Sep 28, 2017

Topic:

Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency for Smaller and Rural Communities

In This Episode:

01:37  Guest Laura Clemons is introduced.
01:44  Laura tells how she became interested in community resiliency and disaster work.
02:50  Laura explains the difference between an advocate and an activist.
04:24  Laura describes how individuals may be able to help after a disaster.
07:36  Laura identifies how to mobilize people, before disaster hits, to develop a more resilient community.
09:23  Laura shares how to communicate to people that they have the ability to create networks of resiliency.
11:56  Laura mentions how the process lends itself to focusing on certain issues or if it’s open to any issue.
14:13  Laura states where people can go to learn about her diagnostic tool and her work.
15:14  Laura walks us through the process of attacking problems and being an activist on frustrating issues.
18:59  Laura expresses how to intervene in the division between urban and rural.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“What I really focus on when I talk to people—whether it’s at conferences or it’s with clients that I meet with in a post-disaster situation or just neighborhoods that want to try and be better—it’s about personal activism and figuring out how you can unleash your inner activist.  Find the things in the world that you can change and figure out who the other people are that feel the same way that you do, connect with them, and find your tribe, expand your tribe, include more people, and then it turns out that big changes can happen at the individual level.”

“I think that a lot of people in rural communities and small towns are very used to doing for themselves and then their neighbors.  We’re fairly resilient in that way and taking care of each other and sort of springing to action when something needs to be done.”

“These networks just started springing up because there were a lot of people like me: we’re not trained to be first responders or disaster recovery experts; we assume that there’s someone that knows how to do this.  The truth is, it’s just about doing it and figuring it out as you go.”

“When I use the term ‘expand your tribe,’ what it simply means is, if there’s something that you don’t understand, that you’re suspicious of, or that you’re scared of—maybe you even have legitimate reasons to be scared of it; more times than not, you don’t have a legitimate reason—it’s ‘cause you’ve heard something from somebody or you saw something that led you to believe, but it’s not about your firsthand experience, take your fear and convert it to curiosity, and that’s the first step.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

 

Sep 21, 2017

Topic:

It’s “Just” Rain: Weather Events Impacting Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:41  Laura explains the impacts of extreme weather in smaller rural communities.
05:48  Laura states some of the resources that help small communities recover from a weather event.
08:49  Laura talks about what a disaster declaration is.
10:30  Laura tells if the weekly average of a federal disaster declaration is an increase from past years.
14:36  Laura mentions some strategies that communities can engage in when a disaster hits.
19:35  Laura states how to integrate weather events into planning.
22:46  Laura tells how communities can learn what they should be doing to be prepared.
23:41  Laura comments on how consultants on your behalf get paid.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest and Organization:

Laura Clemons is the founder and CEO of Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC, (CCMC) and serves as the company’s head project team leader. Ms. Clemons is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty designation in Building Design and Construction and has been working in the sustainable built environment since 2008. She transitioned into disaster recovery after the devastating tornados of April 2011 and has combined her diverse background into being a foremost expert on resiliency.   

She has been working with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) since 2014 on a comprehensive approach to Hurricane Sandy recovery that is designed to protect over 350 acres of Sandy damaged NYCHA property from increasing climate change risks including storm surge, sea level rise and rain inundation. Her strategy for stormwater management is that it be achieved through creative land re-engineering to maximize perviousness and drainage while embracing Placemaking. Currently she is invested in helping flood ravaged communities across Texas and Louisiana rebuild in a safer, more sustainable way.  

CCMC is based in Austin, Texas but works with clients across the U.S. They provide a range of local constituencies with logistical support for environmentally sustainable and socially conscientious community revitalization in both pre- and post-disaster scenarios. CCMC serves in both a consultative and project management role ensuring that all project participants operate on budget and schedule and that the client gets a project with multiple co-benefits.

CCMC was created because of the widely acknowledged need for hands-on, focused coordination of various groups involved in creating projects and programs that benefit communities. They approach holistic resiliency solutions through partnership building and collaboration. They have a sensitivity to diversity and inclusion with special attention paid to the most vulnerable populations.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s a lot of philosophical discussion about climate change and climate adaptation, and when I go to conferences, I see a lot of people talking about Katrina and Sandy.  It is very disappointing to me because I work in disaster recovery, and I see the events that are happening: we’re averaging a federal declaration about one a week.  And when I poll most audiences and ask people, how often do you think we are having a disaster, they say, like, one a year, maybe two a year.”

“We’ve done a good job in this country of building dams.  However, when you have a place that’s seeing a lot of rain, everyone’s upstream of someone, and I think we failed to recognize that.”

“I show up super late, usually very late in the process, where there’s already millions of dollars of missed opportunity of how these small communities could have not just been made to be safer but they could pivot into how this folds into their economic development strategies, how are they attracting new businesses, how do they build new houses or get a new factory to move to town.”

“The risks that we know of, we’re comfortable planning for.  It’s the risk that you don’t know about that will bite you.”

Resources:

Collaborative Communities Management Company, LLC  

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Sep 14, 2017

Topic:

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

In This Episode:

01:16  Guest Arjun Patney is introduced.
02:11  Arjun describes his work at the American Carbon Registry.
04:28  Arjun explains how the California carbon market works.
07:26  Arjun tells what was exempt from the market.
08:42  Since California is a large exporter of agricultural product, did that have a part in the decision making?
09:22  Arjun gives his thoughts on why the agricultural sector is less regulated than the industrial sector.
09:56  Arjun tells why there’s been less-than-expected revenue for various programs.
12:37  Arjun talks about making the cap-and-trade legislation a bipartisan issue.
15:29  Arjun states what was done in this legislation to address concerns about people who might bear burdens disproportionately.
17:46  Arjun touches on the future of carbon market legislation.  

Co-Host:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Guest and Organization:

Arjun Patney is the Policy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, which engages with regulators in California and other jurisdictions to help ensure that market-based climate change mitigation programs address the full range of emissions reduction opportunities. In this way, he advances greenhouse gas mitigation that delivers economic opportunities as well as environmental and social benefits. Patney’s diverse experience in the environmental field spans technical, policy and business spheres. Practical sustainability solutions have been the common thread of his work in the U.S. and Asia, whether he was negotiating carbon credit deals, implementing environmental management systems, engineering spill controls, or helping foreign clean tech companies enter Asian markets. Patney previously established the U.S. carbon trading desk at the multinational corporation Cargill and subsequently worked with USAID to advance international forest carbon markets. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental management and policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.

Take Away Quotes:

“American Carbon Registry, or ACR, is broader than just California. We did exist long before the California market was established. We were actually the first voluntary greenhouse gas registry in the world.”

“The Cap-and-Trade Program here covers most of the economy—some 80, 85% of the economy—and it covers emissions from power generation, including imports; it covers industry…and transportation and heating fuels, meaning all of the gasoline for use in the vehicles is also covered by the program, which is a first for a cap-and-trade program.”

“Agriculture, conventionally in this country, has not faced the same types of environmental regulation as the industrial sectors of our economy.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA)

American Carbon Registry at Winrock International

 

Sep 7, 2017

Topic:

Incorporating Green Infrastructure into Street Design

In This Episode:

01:57  Guest Corinne Kisner is introduced.
02:10  Corinne shares about the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
02:33  Mike tells about NACTO’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Urban Street Stormwater Guide.”
03:17  Corinne explains why sustainable stormwater management matters and why transportation officials should be concerned about stormwater management.
05:12  Corinne gives the benefits of using green stormwater infrastructure in street design.
06:49  Corinne comments on green stormwater systems making cities more desirable and more attractive as places to live.
08:30  Corinne gives the characteristics of successful city projects.
11:03  Corinne shares the elements that help make green infrastructure work within a street design.
13 :07  Corinne states the challenges that cities face in stormwater street design.
14:02  Corinne supplies what should be kept in mind when designing or implementing a stormwater street project.
15:08  Corinne talks about underserved communities using green infrastructure as a community-building, community-investment strategy.
17:16  Corinne tells if there is a role for green stormwater infrastructure in areas that have a drier climate.
17:47  Corinne makes known how green infrastructure projects can positively change a city’s growth and development.
19:06  Is green infrastructure more expensive or less expensive than traditional infrastructure approaches?
20:35  Is the book currently available, and where can people go to buy the book?
21:25  Corinne discusses what needs to happen next to get more cities to implement green infrastructure as part of their normal course of business.

Guest and Organization:

Corinne Kisner is the Director of Programs at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). In this role, she facilitates networks of peer cities working to build safe, sustainable transportation systems and equitable, active cities through better street design and transportation policy. Corinne directs the annual Designing Cities conference and facilitates city policy initiatives on issues such as Vision Zero, planning for automated vehicles, and integrating green stormwater infrastructure into multi-modal street design. Corinne also oversees NACTO’s communications, external partnerships, and leadership development program for city transportation officials.

Previously at NACTO she served as the Designing Cities Program Manager (2014-2015) and a Designing Cities Fellow (2013), coordinating the Urban Street Design Guide endorsement campaign, growing a national network of bike share professionals, writing case studies of local street design projects, and directing and managing the 2014 Designing Cities conference in San Francisco, the 2015 Designing Cities conference in Austin, and the 2016 Designing Cities conference in Seattle.

Prior to joining NACTO, Corinne held a Mayoral Fellowship at the City of Chicago, worked as the Sustainability Associate in the Center for Research & Innovation at the National League of Cities, and worked at the Climate Institute in Washington, DC. She received a Taubman Scholarship to pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.

Take Away Quotes:

“NACTO is an association of 55 member cities and transit agencies across North America, formed to help exchange best practices and ideas in city transportation and raise the bar nationally to what city transportation can do in cities.”

“We’ve been seeing cities across the country really thinking critically about the design of streets and how that plays in to city goals for sustainability and equity and access and really livable, vibrant cities.”

“The network of cities that we work with are starting to think critically, too, about how streets play a role in the stormwater infrastructure, in the stormwater network within the city.  Most streets are very impervious, meaning that water can’t absorb through the concrete or the asphalt into the ground, and so you just get enormous volumes of stormwater runoff running across streets and into storm drains.  That really separates water from the natural cycle and causes water pollution and is very expensive to treat and manage.”

Resources:

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

 

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