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Climate change planners often leave communities of color out of conversations. A Cincinnati group is changing that

flooding norwood wcpo.jpg
Flooding in Norwood in July 2021 has been linked to a drainage problem. Residents say 10 minutes of heavy rain shouldn't put them underwater. They had the same problem in 2016.

Green Umbrella and five other groups were part of the Regional Collaboration for Equitable Climate Solutions pilot.

The communities hit hardest by climate change events are often ones full of minorities. What can be frustrating is they probably don’t have a seat at the table to set policy to prevent and deal with weather disasters.

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) is leading a pilot program to change that. It’s called Regional Collaboration for Equitable Climate Solutions (RCECS).

Cincinnati’s Green Umbrella took part in one with Tampa, Florida, and Southeast Louisiana in August and it looks forward to continuing to collaborate with:

  • Urban League
  • OKI Regional Council of Governments
  • Hamilton County Public Health
  • GroundworkORV
  • Village of Silverton

“Systemic injustices really permeate everything and so this pilot is really about how to make sure that understanding of history and more inclusive procedure for the creation of these regional efforts is part of the next generation of these collaboratives,” says Green Umbrella’s Climate Policy Lead Savannah Sullivan.

This Greater Cincinnati collaborative wants to set policy and establish aid.

“Providing different types of services that folks need post-disaster, whether they be sort of an energy crisis and need support with energy bills, as we experience more flooding or land sliding, those types of services provided from local governments or nonprofits," she says.

Sullivan says racism is a magnifier of the deadly impact of climate change.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology