Last year, the 2017 hurricane season was one of the most intense on record, with three Category 4 storms making landfall in the U.S. Last week, Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas hard. The impacts of these storms can be devastating, including property damage, injury, and even death. September also happens to be National Preparedness Month, which focuses on encouraging Americans to prepare for all types of emergencies. This year, the cities of Boston and Cambridge, along with dozens of community partners, have singled out the week of Sept. 24 – 30 as Climate Preparedness Week.
Climate Preparedness Week
Climate Preparedness Week is a collaborative effort started by Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW), which has worked to bring together local community groups, non-profits, and local government agencies to host a series of events around a common theme: “Climate Preparedness.” Throughout the week, over 20 events across the Metro Region will focus on learning, service, and action on extreme weather and preparedness. Events range from Green Cambridge’s Farm Kickoff and discussion on how local food sources can increase community resilience to climate change, to “Librarians, Climate Change and Community Resilience” at the Boston Public Library, to a day-long event at Moakley Park in Boston. Many of the events focus on teaching community members about how to prepare for extreme weather events.
Check out: https://www.climatecrew.org/prep_week for more information.
Natural Disasters and Climate Change
Climate Preparedness Week comes at a time when extreme weather events like intense tropical storms and hurricanes are in the news and the public consciousness. While it’s difficult to directly correlate any single storm to climate change, studies predict that human-caused climate change will likely lead to an increase in intensity of hurricanes over the next century. In addition to more intense storms, sea level rise, which causes higher storm surge levels, will increase the damage resulting from large storms. Climate change is also increasing the amount of precipitation and rates at which it falls, which can cause devastating flooding inland.
All these factors mean that it’s likely that extreme weather events will increase in intensity and damage in the coming century – which is why we need to start connecting emergency preparedness with climate change.
Regional Efforts to Prepare
While it’s important for individuals, families, and businesses to have emergency preparedness plans for when extreme weather disasters hit, cities and towns across the state are also preparing for the impacts of climate change. MAPC works with municipalities across the Boston Metro region to prepare for climate change by providing planning support, technical assistance, and regional coordination. MAPC supports the Metro Mayors Coalition’s Climate Preparedness Taskforce, a coalition of 15 municipalities that coordinate their mitigation and adaptation work, including how to ensure that vulnerable populations have protection and the ability to adapt in the face of climate change. MAPC also works with cities and towns to achieve the Municipal Vulnerable Preparedness (MVP) designation, which qualifies municipalities for additional state funding for preparedness.
Join Us at Climate Preparedness Week
Climate Preparedness Week is a great time to start thinking about how your family, workplace, and community can begin to plan for extreme weather events. We encourage you to check out events from Sept. 24 through Sept. 30 to connect with your neighbors and community about preparedness.
See below for a day-by-day breakdown of all events.
8 a.m. - Cambridge Park(ing) Day
Quincy Street near Harvard Yard, Cambridge