A Match Made in Heaven?– Integrating Climate Change into Hazard Mitigation Planning

Webinar Date: 
February 27, 2020

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Abstract: The field of emergency management has been helping communities assess, plan for, and respond to extreme weather events and other disasters for decades. However, the approaches developed to help communities assess the risk and the potential impacts of extreme weather events have rarely been updated to include climate change. While requirements at the local level vary state by state, there is an opportunity to mainstream adaptation planning and preparedness into the hazard mitigation process. If only we can find ways to effectively merge these two fields and ensure that communities are planning and preparing for both current and future hazards. This webinar brings together representatives of different agencies and organizations to discuss the opportunities and challenges of climate-smart hazard planning and provide examples of where and how disaster preparedness is being used to improve resilience across the country.



Kristin Baja, Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Kristin Baja (‘Baja’) is USDN’s Program Director for Climate Resilience and is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation and building their capacity to take proactive action. Baja focuses her time on supporting members and partners in working at the nexus of resilience, mitigation and equity while also helping center equity in their climate and sustainability work. She helps facilitate deeper relationships between local governments and stakeholders while helping to identify and shift focus to more collaborative and transformational action. Prior to USDN, Baja served as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the City of Baltimore's Office of Sustainability where she led the city's climate and equity work. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.


Eric Chapman, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Eric Chapman, Sr., is an enrolled member of the Waaswaagoning Ojibwe, also known as the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, located in northern Wisconsin. Eric has worked for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe for 33 years in the natural resource field, first being a conservation warden for 25 years and then working to identify both natural and man-made threats which may impact the health, life, and property of our tribal community by developing mitigation strategies as the emergency management coordinator. As the need to develop comprehensive planning to combat threats of a changing climate became more evident, we initiated our Climate Resilience Initiative. This concern has been identified as a priority by the Lac du Flambeau Tribe. Eric has shouldered the responsibility of Project Director for our Climate Resilience Initiative. Through a Team approach we have developed an energy reduction plan for our tribal facilities in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we have assessed vulnerable species important to our tribal customs and traditions, we have developed a hazard mitigation plan to reduce natural and man-made risks, and we are developing adaptation strategies for our community to be resilient for the next seven generations.


Jonathan Olds, FEMA- Region 10

Jonathan Olds, Lead Hazard Mitigation Assistance Specialist, FEMA Region 10, serves as the Idaho, Oregon and Alaska Program Lead for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP), Pre-disaster Mitigation (PDMC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA). Hazard mitigation grants are intended to reduce damages resulting from natural hazards through planning, reinforcement of existing buildings and infrastructure, restoring green infrastructure or through removal of structures from highly vulnerable areas.  Mr. Olds previously worked at the University of Washington, where he conducted research focusing on improving the public outreach within, and integrating best climate science into hazard mitigation planning. He also has over 10 year’s environmental management experience: as an environmental manager with Washington State Ferries, as an environmental consultant with ENTRANCO and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador and Palau. Mr. Olds holds a Masters of Public Administration, a Masters of Urban Planning and a Professional Certificate in Decision-Making for Climate Change from the University of Washington.  


Sascha Petersen, Adaptation International

Sascha has been working specifically on climate change for more than 13 years.  He was the first managing director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, a Lead Author for the Great Plains Region of the National Climate Assessment (2014) and the Pacific Northwest Region of the 2018 National Climate Assessment. He has worked with both climate scientists and municipal governments and focuses on bridging the gaps between climate change science, policy, and action.   As a research scientist with Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, NOAA’s first Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program, he helped develop regionally specific projections for sea-level rise in Washington State. He has built on that experience in collaborations with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, the North Olympic Peninsula, Island County, and Washington Sea Grant to develop probabilistic sea level rise projects across the region.   Sascha has direct experience with local governments and Tribal communities. He is helping communities from ranging from the Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation in Idaho and the Washoe Tribe in California to the City of Boulder and The City of San Antonio build climate resilience. Before starting Adaptation International, he led the City of Austin's adaptation efforts through his participation in a Climate Resilient Communities advisory group for ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability and has worked with a number of tribal communities and multi-tribal organizations to assess climate vulnerability and develop adaptation plans.  Sascha has a Bachelor's degree in physics from Pomona College and a Master's degree focusing on climate change science and policy from the University of Washington. Prior to working on climate change, he trained astronauts at the Johnson Space Center.

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