Building upon the success of last week’s Earth Hour, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has announced the Earth Hour City Challenge — a new, year-long competition intended to inspire cities to reduce their carbon footprint while preparing for the consequences of climate change in their communities.
From those cities choosing to participate, one will be selected as “The U.S. Earth Hour Capital” for 2013. Two to five other cities will receive public participation grants of $30,000-$100,000 to support events focused on engaging citizens in planning for climate change.
All participating municipalities will have access to interactive webinars lead by local sustainability and climate experts on topics such as how to assess local vulnerabilities, how to raise public awareness about city actions, and how to engage the community’s business sector.
A public engagement toolkit includes best practices for presenting the most recent scientific findings, communicating local climate impacts, and collecting beneficial feedback from residents. Through an online, members-only forum, participating cities will also be able to learn from the experiences and expertise of others – and any city or township within the U.S. is eligible.
Since 2006, weather-related disasters have been declared in 49 of the 50 states, affecting more than 80% of the U.S. population. And with once-rare events becoming more frequent and more severe, extreme weather associated with climate change has become become increasingly difficult — and too costly — for localities to ignore.
If you’re interested in learning about the particular vulnerabilities in your state – or to enourage your local officials to participate in the Challenge — visit the Earth Hour City Challenge interactive map.
To learn more about the benefits of participating and how to register your city, visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/earthhour/ForCities.html
To learn about steps other cities are taking to mitigate the impacts of climate change, visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/earthhour/HowCities.html