- Low Carbon Resilience
- Natural Solutions Initiative
Phase 2: Engage
Ideally, the work completed in Phase 1 will have generated support from senior leaders and staff for an LCR approach as well as sparked their interest and participation in a Climate Action Team.
In Phase 2, it is important to connect with key community groups and stakeholders who are already engaged in climate-related projects. The LCR Champion should also work with the local government's communications team to develop consistent and targeted LCR language for both staff and community audiences. This will help to catalyze broader support for the LCR Climate Action Plan.
This Phase aligns with ICLEI Canada’s BARC Framework Milestone 1 and the Partners for Climate Protection's Milestone 1.
- It is critical to build relationships with key staff and stakeholders early in the process in order to advance climate literacy, develop understanding of the LCR approach, and build cross-departmental organizational support. The LCR Champion should reach out to key staff in different departments to discuss their specific work and mandates. These conversations should be used to clarify how climate change data can support more proactive and effective decision-making across work areas, including finance, engineering, and planning. The LCR Champion should listen closely to staff and incorporate their concerns and feedback. For a suggested list of key staff and stakeholders, see pages 42-43 of the LCR Handbook.
- LCR Tip: To promote climate action:
- Emphasize the co-benefits of reducing climate risks and emissions, such as improving livability, health, biodiversity, investment planning, and cost savings.
- Share success stories from other regions or communities to illustrate what LCR looks like in practice (see case studies on pages 10-13 of the LCR Decision Tool for Local Government).
- Provide examples of different LCR interventions to advance understanding and spark inspiration (see the LCR Interventions Report). Tailor the language and examples to the target audience to ensure they are both clear and relevant.
- Keep the Momentum: Use these initial consultations to build LCR communications that are tailored to the local municipal and community context.
data_check 2.1 Step Check
- Identify key staff and community stakeholders. Brief them on the LCR approach to prepare them for their participation throughout the process.
- It is important to emphasize the benefits of the LCR approach throughout the climate action planning process. The LCR Champion should use consistent messaging, that is targeted to each stakeholder group, about why climate action is essential. This will build a climate constituency both within the local government and among residents. To accomplish this goal, the LCR Champion should developing a communications plan with key messaging that can be used throughout the planning process.
- LCR Tip: Use plain language (as often as possible) to explain the LCR approach and highlight its benefits. If the phrase "low carbon resilience" is confusing to a particular audience, use vocabulary that is clear and familiar to them instead. Defer to the terminology that is already in use in the local government.
- Keep the Momentum:
- Explore the ways that an LCR approach can piggyback on various areas of corporate work. In the City of Prince George, the LCR Champion used climate projection data to show how freeze-thaw cycles are becoming increasingly unpredictable, which is leading to rising costs for road maintenance.
- Build on work that is already being done. In the District of Summerland, the LCR Champion requested that LCR be integrated into the District’s business prioritization criteria. Now, all capital projects over $10,000.00 are screened with LCR criteria.
- Highlight how the LCR approach will streamline limited resources and capacity and thus make investments go further. In the City of Port Moody, two separate climate planning processes (one for adaptation and one for mitigation) were rolled into a single LCR process. This reduced the time and expense required by around 50%, which generated widespread support for LCR among the staff involved in budgeting and decision-making.
data_check 2.2 Step Check
- Develop and adopt an LCR communications plan.
- A Climate Action Team is an integral part of the LCR process. Ideally, the team should be comprised of senior and other relevant managing and operational staff from key departments (e.g., planning, engineering, finance, sustainability, parks, communications, community services, public works, and emergency management). The Climate Action Team will attend 4-6 planning workshops throughout the LCR process. To ensure consistent attendance at the workshops, it may be necessary to obtain written support for this process from the City Manager or another senior leader. Alternatively, some communities have found it helpful to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that includes a commitment to participate in the workshops. For a complete list of organizational departments to include in the Climate Action Team, refer to page 48 of the LCR Handbook.
- LCR Tip: If participation in the workshops is decreasing over time, contact individuals by phone (rather than email) to discuss the rationale for their absence.
- Keep the Momentum: Work with the City Manager, or another senior leader, to draft an invitational email that welcomes the selected staff and stakeholders to participate in the Climate Action Team. This kick-off email should emphasize the value of LCR, provide an overview of expectations for team members, and underscore the importance of both consistent participation and cross-departmental contributions. In addition, consider preparing an MOU to encourage regular attendance. For a sample invitational email, see Appendix 3 in the LCR Handbook.
data_check 2.3 Step Check
- Assemble a cross-departmental Climate Action Team with members from departments across the organization (e.g., planning, engineering, finance, sustainability, parks, communications, community services, public works, and emergency management).
- Workshop 1 is the first formal gathering of the Climate Action Team. This workshop sets the stage for the LCR process by showcasing the need for integrated planning and systemic solutions. The primary goal of this workshop is to develop team members' climate change literacy (i.e., improve their understanding) with regard to regional climate projections, potential climate risks, and the importance of adaptation and mitigation for minimizing climate impacts. The LCR Champion should develop activities that encourage participants to explore systemic solutions and identify the co-benefits of climate action (see Appendix 4 in the LCR Handbook).
- LCR Tip: Use the Taking Stock spreadsheet from Phase 1 to show participants the climate-related work that the community has already undertaken. This information can then be used in group activities to stimulate thinking about cross-departmental approaches to addressing risk, reducing emissions, and advancing co-benefits.
- Use Workshop 1 to achieve the following outcomes:
- Develop climate change literacy.
- Emphasize the benefits of the LCR approach.
- Summarize existing climate-related work in the community, and explore synergies in different departments' mandates and areas of work.
- Brainstorm initial LCR opportunities to develop an ‘integrative mindset’ among the Climate Action Team (see the City of Port Moody ICABCCI Case Study below).
- For more details about how to conduct Workshop 1, please see page 50 in the LCR Handbook.
data_check 2.4 Step Check
- Host Workshop 1. Compile a list of initial LCR opportunities to generate an integrative mindset, and begin identifying opportunities for synergies.
Cultivating an Integrative Mindset in the City of Port Moody
While hosting Port Moody’s inaugural LCR workshop, the LCR Champion noticed a subtle shift away from siloed thinking amongst the participants. This was accomplished by encouraging the team to think systemically about the impacts of climate change and to explore diverse responses using LCR strategies, thus fostering an integrative mindset. To outline a few examples, the team members discussed the LCR advantage of green or “soft” foreshore protection, the emissions implications of backup generators, the energy security of renewables, and how to account for the impacts of climate change (and any implemented responses) on the City’s unhoused population.
During the workshop, the Champion observed critical relationships being formed between team members. In addition, cross-departmental exchanges began occurring more frequently outside of the workshop process.
In subsequent workshops, the Champion and the consulting team reinforced LCR learning and capacity through targeted activities. These included exercises that encouraged staff to broaden their thinking and to examine alternatives that they othewise might not have considered.
One outcome of workshop participation was that it generated LCR momentum. For instance, the staff responsible for asset management are currently collaborating with ecosystems, parks, and engineering staff to explore the potential of natural assets (and ecosystem services) for minimizing flood risk, avoiding emissions from expanded infrastructure, and protecting greenspaces and biodiversity.
The LCR planning process set the stage for cross-departmental exchanges and integrative mindsets. This, in turn, enhanced staff capacity for exploring LCR strategies, options for budget-sharing, and opportunities for collaboration. The result was a growing momentum on climate action amongst staff across the organization.
All of this started with framing the LCR objectives at Workshop 1.