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ISC receives grant to address health and heat with Maricopa County

Institute for Sustainable Communities receives grant from Commission for Environmental Cooperation to address extreme heat in Maricopa Country, Arizona

The Maricopa Coalition on Climate Change and Public Health: Extreme Heat will develop a comprehensive process for addressing extreme heat risks to people, including extreme heat morbidity and mortality.

Montpelier, Vt., December 5, 2019 — The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has been selected as a recipient for a 2019–2020 North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) grant from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). ISC’s partnership with Maricopa County Department of Public Health and other community organizations is one of 11 innovative, community-based projects addressing adaptation to extreme events that will receive funding.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to work hand-in-hand with leadership from Maricopa County Department of Public Health and other partners to develop a coordinated and regional approach for addressing extreme heat, an issue that many communities across North America are facing,” said Steve Adams, ISC’s Director of Urban Resilience. “Fragmentation of the social safety net has left many residents vulnerable to the shocks and stress brought on by climate change. With equity and resilience foremost in mind, we’re knitting the safety net back together to cope with the dangers posed by extreme heat.”

“Cross-sector partnerships like this one are exactly what our community needs to address climate-related health issues, which impact every aspect of life in the desert,” said Marcy Flanagan, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “We’re excited to see what ISC’s broader perspective will add to the coalition.”

“Cross-sector partnerships like this one are exactly what our community needs to address climate-related health issues, which impact every aspect of life in the desert.”

Marcy Flanagan, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Richard Morgan, the CEC’s executive director, added, “We are proud to support local organizations across North America taking a novel approach to an urgent issue that can affect us all. Action at the community level will complement the ongoing work on preparedness and resilience to extreme events that the CEC is undertaking at the trilateral level. We sincerely thank all those who applied to the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action this year.”

Maricopa County, Arizona, is at the forefront of the extreme heat crisis. Since 2006, 1,292 people have died due to extreme heat in the county, as the region’s 4.6 million residents have faced an average of 10 days yearly with minimum night-time temperatures greater than 32°C (90 °F). With a changing climate, the annual heat death rate is climbing—nearly quadrupling in the past decade. More statistics are available at HeatAZ.org, including the 2018 final annual report that includes visuals on the increasing number of heat-associated deaths each year.

ISC, an international community-based solutions nonprofit organization, will participate in a twelve-month project, collaborating with local partners through the Bridging Climate Change and Public Health coalition formed by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The project will develop and implement a comprehensive regional process for addressing extreme heat risks to all residents, but with immediate focus on highly vulnerable populations most harmed by extreme heat: older adults, children, and low-income communities of color.  

Addressing the impacts of climate change on public health is a new field requiring innovation and collaboration among the region’s private, public, and nonprofit sectors to establish a clear picture of how the region can adapt to extreme heat. With the support of the NAPECA grant, ISC and the members of the Bridging Climate Change and Public Health coalition will form effective and unified public engagement for making decisions, securing and allocating resources, and bringing new partners to the table, working at different levels of collaboration across the region. This work will also compliment the CEC’s trilateral work on addressing extreme heat events.

The CEC’s NAPECA grant program supports nonprofit and nongovernmental entities in Canada, Mexico and the United States that work closely with local and Indigenous communities to improve environmental conditions at the local level. “Helping Your Community Adapt to Extreme Events” was selected by CEC Council members as the focus for the current NAPECA grant cycle in order to expand the impact of the CEC efforts in helping North America to better cope with the effects of extreme events. A trilateral selection committee chose 11 projects from over 200 proposals. To learn more about NAPECA, visit www.cec.org/napeca.

About the Institute for Sustainable Communities

Since 1991, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has led more than 115 transformative community-driven sustainability projects in 30 countries including the United States, China, India, and Bangladesh. ISC helps unleash the existing power of local people and institutions to address immediate social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities – all while building those on-the-ground solutions into national and international best practices and policy. At the heart of the organization’s approach is results-focused, authentic, and pragmatic engagement with all stakeholders, which unearths locally-driven and equitable solutions to the biggest challenge we face – global climate change. 

About the CEC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the environmental side agreement to NAFTA. An intergovernmental organization, the CEC brings together citizens and experts from governments, nongovernmental organizations, academia and the business sector to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable economic development. Find out more at: www.cec.org.

CEC initiatives are undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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