Professional Societies and Climate Change

Professional Societies and Climate Change

Many professional societies in the United States that could play a crucial role in building community resilience are beginning to focus on at least one of three elements of resilience — adaptation, mitigation, and social justice — a report from the Kresge Foundation finds. The report, Professional Societies and Climate Change (38 pages, PDF), examined forty-one professional societies and found that fourteen had organizational goals or clear mandates related to either climate adaptation or mitigation, while seventeen had goals related to social justice. The report also found that twelve organizations had established goals in two of the three areas and that five organizations — the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network — had set goals in each of the three areas. Based on interviews with a subset of the forty-one professional societies, the report also found, among other things, that there is an "iterative continuum of organizational action on climate change," from providing members with educational material to helping develop standards of practice that include climate resilience; that peer collaboration is essential; that competing priorities can limit action; and that groups focused on social equity tend to be weaker on climate change issues.