CH launches 'engagement phase' of climate action plan

During June and July last year, wildfires in Canada gave Cleveland Heights a small taste of the threat posed by climate change; poor air quality forced residents inside and created health issues for many.

The city of Cleveland Heights is on a mission to plan and prepare for the effects of climate change through its inaugural Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP). This effort is being spearheaded by Andy Boatang, the city’s first Sustainability and Resilience Coordinator, who was appointed by Mayor Kahlil Seren in August 2023.

With the help of nationally recognized sustainability experts Nutter Consulting, the city is developing a comprehensive, inclusive, and actionable plan to tackle pressing questions about its future:

  • How is—and will—the global climate crisis affecting Cleveland Heights and its residents?
  • How is Cleveland Heights contributing to this crisis? And,
  • What can and should we do to protect ourselves—especially our most vulnerable residents—from the effects of poor air quality and extreme weather events?

Plan launch: The city officially launched its CARP effort on Oct. 24, 2023, during Global Climate Week 2023, and the mayor and Boateng hosted an open house at City Hall, engaging residents in discussions about climate change impacts.

Citizen Survey: The city launched a Climate Action Survey last fall to capture residents’ diverse perspectives and opinions. Hundreds of residents have participated. This survey will remain open throughout the plan’s development.

City Climate Action Team: Mayor Seren formed a cross-departmental team to define and advance the opportunities of CARP, and a smaller steering committee meets bi-weekly to guide and collaborate on the plan.

Discovery Phase: Nutter Consulting has been driving the “discovery phase” of the planning effort:

  • Reviewing all relevant city and county plans and developing a comprehensive summary of what they contain to ensure any CARP goals and proposed strategies align with existing efforts.
  • Crafting a robust strategy for reaching out to the community and engaging stakeholders that makes finding equitable solutions a priority.
  • Engaging a climate scientist to assess annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Cleveland Heights and provide an initial GHG emissions inventory.

Engagement Phase: The CARP process is now entering its “engagement phase.”

The city will hold its first CARP Visioning Workshop from 7–8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at the CH Community Center. This workshop will be the first in a series of opportunities for all to come together, share ideas, and co-create a Climate Action and Resiliency Plan that reflects the values and aspirations of the entire community.

Ready to have your voice heard? Here are three ways you can get started:

Marc Lefkowitz

Marc Lefkowitz is a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights and a sustainability advocate. He has served on the city's Transportation Advisory Committee and on the board of the Home Repair Resource Center, and is currently a public relations specialist with the city of Cleveland Heights. His son attends the Heights schools.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.29.2024