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The Fair Climate Connection 
August 4, 2011

Happy August!
 
We use this newsletter as a means to communicate news, best practices and upcoming opportunities related to fair climate solutions.
  
Have any field strategies, stories, events or successes you'd like to share in an upcoming issue of this newsletter? Email FairClimateProject@nwf.org so we can feature you!
THIS WEEK:
Federal Budget Antics Threaten Safety of Communities, Raise Costs
Climate Change Hurts Indian Tribes Disproportionately, NWF Report Finds
Why Bad Heat = Bad Air
Registration is Open for the 2011 Conference on Environmental Justice
Leadership Training Opportunity from the Institute for Conservation Leadership
Funding Opportunities

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NWF is hiring!
Do you know any young professionals or recent graduates who would be interested in a paid, 11-month internship at NWF? Tell them to apply and email pelzerk@nwf.org once they do!

NWF is currently hiring for the following paid internships:
  • Climate Change Intern - Washington, DC    
  • Education Advocacy Intern - Washington, DC         
  • Legislative Intern - Washington, DC
  • Tribal and Public Lands Stewardship Intern - Boulder, CO     
  • Wildlife and Climate Safeguards - Washington, DC

 We are hiring for other positions, too. Click here to see current listings.  

About Us

The goal of NWF's Fair Climate Project is to build and engage a national network of leaders representing underserved communities to advance equitable and just solutions to climate change. We work to forge connections between community leaders and decision makers to jumpstart local projects and national initiatives that promote green communities, clean energy, and green jobs.


Clean air, clean water and abundant wildlife sustain Americans from all walks of life. We all have a shared responsibility to protect these resources for our children's future.  At NWF, we are working to bring together diverse voices to affect decisions that will create safe and healthy communities for all.

What do you think?
Federal Budget Antics Threaten Safety of Communities, Raise Costs
by Kara Reeve, Manager of the Climate Resilient Communities Program at NWF

Even climate change skeptics may agree that the weather is changing. Just this spring and summer, a tornado outbreak in Alabama tore through the state and destroyed homes; an unprecedented heat wave and drought smothered Oklahoma with 32 consecutive days of temperatures above 100 degrees, and contributed to the state's sixth heat-related death reported earlier this week; and the US Department of Agriculture declared the drought in Texas a natural disaster, due to the devastation it has caused for farmers and ranchers.

The weather is hotter and more severe, and Americans are paying for it with their lives and their life-savings.

The frequency and intensity of storms, droughts, and other severe weather patterns is increasing and underscores the need for all communities to cope with, build resilience to, and generally be prepared for a changing climate (often called "climate change adaptation").  Many federal agencies, including The Department of Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have programs in place to safeguard people and wildlife from the impacts of climate change, including changes in weather patterns, which deliver not only environmental benefits, but also long-term cost savings to every American.

However, Congressional leaders in the House have used the Federal Appropriations debates to strip funding from programs designed to protect and prepare communities from the impacts of severe weather, including a rider that would block the EPA's ability to fund anti-disaster preparedness programs that provide crucial storm-protection services, block the Interior Department from preparing land areas from flooding, fires, and droughts, and limit the Forest Service's ability to prevent and respond to forest fires. Another rider that already passed would prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its climate adaptation task force and from making any preparations to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change which will have far-reaching impacts because the U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) fall under the DHS umbrella.

Scientists at Stanford University recently made the direct link between climate change and the intensity of hot weather that is now the "new normal" for American communities, and increased temperatures can be correlated to more unpredictable and severe weather patterns, like hurricanes. Already, steep cuts have been proposed to the entire Department of Interior and the EPA, and more anti-climate riders and amendments could follow before the bill passes.

We know that the protections and climate change planning activities we have now are not enough -

How much additional risk can Americans afford?


 

  Climate Change Hurts Indian Tribes Disproportionately, NWF Report Finds

North American Indian Tribes are especially harmed by climate change, as more ecological shifts and more frequent, more extreme weather events occur,  a new study concludes. Because Tribes are heavily dependent on natural resources, severe weather events like droughts, floods, wildfires, and snowstorms make tribal communities particularly vulnerable and impact American Indians and Alaska Natives more than they impact the general population.

 

"Extreme weather events can be very destructive for Tribes, many of whom are already suffering from lack of resources to begin with," said Dr. Amanda Staudt, senior scientist, National Wildlife Federation. "Heat waves and droughts can exacerbate plant and wildlife mortality, heighten the risk of wildfires and habitat loss, and compromise tribal lands."

 

"Power disruptions from storms, long dry spells and heavy floods can be difficult to recover from, especially for people who live close to the land and have limited economic resources," said Garrit Voggesser, senior manager, National Wildlife Federation Tribal Lands Program.

 

In collaboration with the Tribal Lands Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund, and University of Colorado Law School, the National Wildlife Federation released Indian Tribes, Climate-Induced Weather Extremes, and the Future for Indian Country. The report details how climate change is adversely and disproportionately affecting Indian Tribes in North America, people who rely on a healthy environment to sustain their economic, cultural and spiritual lives.

 

"The Indian Nations face profound challenges to their cultures, economies and livelihoods, because of climate change," said Jose Aguto, policy advisor on Climate Change for the National Congress of American Indians. "Yet tribal peoples possess valuable knowledge and practices of their ecosystems that are resilient and cost-effective methods to address climate change impacts, for the benefit of all peoples. This study is a clear call for the Administration, Congress, state and local governments, and all peoples, to support and join tribal efforts to stem climate change."

The study describes how the increase in average temperature is leading to more severe weather events more often and the effects which these events have:

 

The study asks Congress to increase funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs' efforts to address conservation and climate adaptation, to provide equitable tribal access to federal funds and to repeal Tribes' exclusions from federal environmental programs. It also stresses the need for the federal government to enforce tribal rights to natural and cultural resources. Finally, the study calls on Tribes to include climate impacts in their planning efforts and to use their sovereign authority and knowledge to address climate change and its impacts.

 

"More than many other peoples, native peoples understand the importance of robust natural systems," said Kim Gottschalk, staff attorney, Native American Rights Fund. "All of us must act to prohibit the disproportionate harm to Native Americans brought on by climate change."


Read the report here 

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  Why Bad Heat = Bad Air
by Bryan Walsh of Time Magazine, as featured here

As if the stifling, tripe-digit temperatures gripping much of nation weren't bad enough, the heat wave is also contributing to dangerously high levels of air pollution-especially around the cities of the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic region. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air quality rankings range from 0 to 500-500 being the worst-and the air quality index (AQI) for New York City, where I live, is 110, which means that people with respiratory problems and the very young and very old should limit their time outdoors.

It's worse further south-both Baltimore and Washington have AQIs over 150, which means that even healthy adults and children should avoid exertion outdoors. (Not that many people could handle outdoor exercise in this heat even if the air were cleaner.) Here's what the picture looks nationwide according to the EPA, with the orange and red territory indicating the most polluted air:
 


When we talk about "air pollution," we're usually referring to a number of different possible pollutants, all mixing up in the air. Particulate pollution (particles of soot and dirt from coal combustion, diesel engines or fires), along with chemicals like carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide, all add to air pollution.

But the extreme heat adds an additional factor, intensifying what's known as "ground-level ozone."

Read more here.


 

 Registration is Still Open for the 2011 Conference on Environmental Justice: One Community - One Environment
August 23-26, 2011

Who will be there?  Community-based organizations, indigenous organizations, community members, advocates, city/county/state governments, colleges/universities, faith-based organizations, businesses and other stakeholders interested in learning about opportunities to work towards environmental justice in their communities.
Where?  Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit Michigan
Register:  To register please visit http://www.cleanairinfo.com/ejconference/
Cost:  There is no registration fee.
More Info:  For more information please visit http://www.cleanairinfo.com/ejconference/ or contact Lena (Vickey) Epps-Price, Conference Coordinator
    Phone:  919-541-5573
    Email:  epps-price.lena@epa.gov

This Conference provides an opportunity for participants to learn about the following:
    Models for Effective Community Engagement & Capacity Building
    Strategies for Addressing Pollutions Sources that Impact EJ Communities
    Federal Interagency Working Group on EJ
    Workforce Development Training and Job Creation
    Updates: Federal Agencies' Priorities for EJ
    Hands-on Demonstrations of Tools & Resources
    Funding Opportunities

 

Leadership Training Opportunity from the Institute for Conservation Leadership


Discover your unique capacity to lead in the Institute for Conservation Leadership's Leading from Within program.  This five-month program offers workshops, a 360 degree leadership assessment, coaching, and peer learning. 

By the end of Leading from Within participants will:
  • Know their leadership strengths and how to use them,
  • Have a greater impact as a leader in one-on-one, group, and organizational settings,
  • Choose actions strategically from a place of centeredness, rather than reactivity,
  • Develop a toolbox of skills for effective leadership in a variety of situations, and
  • Address current leadership challenges that they are facing.
There may be grant funding to cover the cost of tuition for eligible leaders in the Philadelphia area, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the program is at capacity (it is currently almost half full) or until the Apps Due Date of August 12, 2011.

 For more information, including workshop dates and an application please visit www.leadingfromwithin.org or contact ICL's Peter Lane at peter@icl.org.
 

 

Funding Opportunities