by Jeff Peterson

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On Nov. 10, NASA will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air force Base in California. Its payload: a Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, equipped with instruments that will dramatically improve measurement of changes in sea level around the world.

On the other side of the country, in Washington, D.C., lawmakers recently introduced legislation to constructively manage the challenges that rising sea level will pose for American coastlines.

Taken together, these two events are evidence of important progress toward understanding and managing the risks of sea level rise. …


by David Coursen

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Now that the nation’s eye is on racial justice, the Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has discovered that he wants “to solve the environmental justice issues we face today.”

As a whopper, this may not quite match President Trump’s claim to be America’s “number one environmental president,” but it is a remarkably strange way to describe the Trump-Wheeler team’s record of attacking environmental protections for low-income communities, communities of color and indigenous people. …


by Jeff Peterson

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After spending almost four years attacking programs to protect water resources, President Trump has just issued an executive order creating a new interagency water policy committee, or “water subcabinet,” to “improve our country’s water resource management.”

Is this a genuine effort to modernize water infrastructure to “meet the needs of current and future generations,” or simply dressing up the administration’s long neglect of water resources just in time for the election; in other words, putting lipstick on a pig?

Skeptics will undoubtedly point out that, while a primary objective of the order is “reducing duplication across the federal government,” the new water subcabinet effectively duplicates the existing Water Resources Council.


by Jeff Peterson

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When asked about climate change and the environment in the first presidential debate, President Trump stated, “I want crystal clean water and air.” As we mark the 48th anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act on Oct. 18, the president’s words ring hollow.

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. But problems persist: In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that 46 percent of rivers and streams were in poor condition, contaminated with pollutants. …


by Laurie Mazur

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The year 2020 has revealed us as a nation divided — by race, politics and economic well-being. Here’s one more widening divide: clean energy.

A new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that several dozen U.S. cities are striding toward a clean-energy future — mandating energy efficiency, investing in renewable power, meeting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Yet many more are lagging behind — either falling short of clean-energy goals or failing even to set them.

The cities making progress in this area will reap significant benefits: cleaner air, healthier citizens, jobs in a fast-growing sector, and lower energy costs. Those that fall behind will miss out, widening the gap that separates them from their cleaner, more prosperous counterparts. …


by Ted Landsmark and Jennie C. Stephens

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The upcoming Presidential election will set the nation’s course on the climate crisis for years to come.

If President Trump wins, we can expect more climate denial and efforts to decimate environmental regulations, with especially devastating impacts for people of color and poor communities. If Vice President Biden wins, there will be a push for massive public investments connecting climate resilience and clean energy to equitable access to jobs, healthcare, and housing.

These trajectories are starkly different — not only in environmental and economic outcomes but also in social justice outcomes. …


by David Coursen

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President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s environmental agenda — massive cuts to the EPA budget, short-circuited environmental reviews, reduced enforcement, weaker rules and scores of rollbacks of environmental protections — is shamelessly out of step with overwhelming public support for protecting the environment. The main strategy for selling this toxic stew has been to highlight its “benefits” and downplay its harms. Not content with that, the Trump administration is also working on new tricks to cook the books and hide the benefits of environmental protections.

It is easy to understand why the administration wouldn’t be eager to call attention to the facts. Their proposed budget cuts of $2.4 billion would cripple the EPA, but barely make a dent in federal outlays, reducing them by .005 percent (1/20,000th), about $8 for each of our nation’s people. Similarly, the public health benefits of EPA regulations, hundreds of billions, or even trillions of dollars are between five and 30 times their costs. And while regulatory costs affect corporate earnings, benefits improve people’s lives, preventing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, heart attacks and emergency room visits. It’s a small wonder that the EPA wants to make public health benefits disappear. …


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Island Press is thrilled to announce that we are partnering with built environment platform TICCO on a new season of their Shaping Cities podcast. Over the course of the season, TICCO will feature Island Press authors, Urban Resilience Project contributors, and other innovators who are dedicated to making our cities sustainable and habitable long into the future.

In the season premier, TICCO’s Erik Felix sits down with Larisa Ortiz, a nationally recognized urban planner, consultant, and URP contributor specializing in commercial district revitalization. In her interview, Larisa dives into her work with commercial districts, the future of retail, and how businesses are adapting in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen via the link below. You can also download the episode on iTunes and Stitcher.

Check out our entire series of podcasts on urban resilience topics HERE.


by Laurie Mazur

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As the planet heats up, water crises are on the rise.

The specifics vary by place — flooding in the Gulf South; water shortages in California; utility shut-offs in Detroit. But one thing is true almost everywhere: Pervasive inequity means that water crises hit low-income communities and people of color first and worst.

This is also true: When those communities come together to share expertise and build solidarity, real change is possible — from neighborhoods on the front lines of climate change to the halls of Congress. …


by Stephen Eisenman

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Hurricane Sally is now parked above the Alabama-Florida border, where “catastrophic, historic flooding is unfolding,” according to the National Hurricane Center. More giant storms — Paulette, Teddy and Vicky — are stacked up over the Atlantic like bowling balls waiting to strike.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has already been one of the most active on record, and it is only half over.

Last month, Hurricane Laura — one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S. mainland — devastated Lake Charles, Louisiana, where many are still without electricity and clean water. …

About

Urban Resilience Project

A changing climate means a changing society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project (URP) is committed to a greener, fairer future. www.islandpress.org/URP

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