New Resource from Trust for America’s Health, “Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness”

By Rebecca Rehr

This week, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released the first two pieces in its new series of case studies that examine efforts by states or localities to conceptualize and implement climate-adaptation policies and programs that center equity. TFAH aims to help make health equity a foundational principle of policymaking at all levels, including in climate policies. The series is meant to spotlight and spread awareness of useful models for peer practitioners to tailor and emulate in their own locations, as well as inspire additional ideas. It’s organized around two primary dimensions of equity: (1) procedural equity, which relates to the inclusiveness and accessibility of the process employed to conceptualize, design, and administer programs; and (2) distributional equity, which relates to the level of fairness in allocating program benefits and burdens.

Part 1 of the series, which focuses on procedural equity, includes the following cases:

  • SB 1072 in California, a law meant to help build the capacity of disadvantaged communities to access competitive grants that support climate-related adaptation and mitigation.
  • LA SAFE in Louisiana, a program intended to increase resilience and economic prosperity of coastal communities.
  • Beat the Heat in Philadelphia, an initiative designed to increase residents’ capacity to cope with extreme heat safely and comfortably, as well as to reduce its intensity.

 

Part 2 of the series (coming this fall), will focus on distributional equity and include three models of community land trusts:

  • Dudley Neighbors, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Louisiana Land Trust.
  • Sawmill Community Land Trust, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The series follows a December 2020 report that TFAH published in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness. That report examined states’ readiness to protect residents from the health impacts of climate change in light of the nature and level of the risks that they face specific to each state. The results provided a portrait of state-level preparedness, demonstrating that while every state had engaged in at least some level of planning and preparation, there was significant variation and, in many places, a great deal of room for further action. Critically, the report emphasized that people and places are not affected equally, with impacts varying due to environmental, social, and demographic factors. Of greatest concern, the report concluded that states with the highest levels of vulnerability—predominantly located in the Southeast—tended to be among the least prepared.

Trust for America’s Health is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health. Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring and empowering health leaders to speak about, act on, and advocate for climate solutions.

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