To kick off the next phase of the Businesses Acting on Rising Seas campaign, which ASBC pioneered in partnership with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Climate Action Liaison Coalition, known as CALC, has launched Businesses Acting on Rising Seas Boston (BARSBoston), in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Greenovate team.
CALC is a Boston-based coalition of small businesses taking targeted action on climate change through metric-driven internal sustainability, policy advocacy, and community-building. Driven by everyday Bostonians, Greenovate Boston a way for everyone in the City to work together to improve our planet, communities, businesses, and daily lives. Stemming from the City’s plan to reduce Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, Greenovate Boston will enable people to take simple steps that will make the City a better, greener place to live and work.
BARSBoston engages Massachusetts’ coastal businesses and municipalities to demonstrate the ultimate physical and economic consequences of climate change and rising sea levels articulated in The Boston Harbor Association’s report, Preparing for the Rising Tide. The businesses will publicly display a decal in their business to demonstrate the project 100-year flood mark in 2050. CALC will support the businesses with a guide on climate adaptation steps for small business, and encourage them to lead or convene conversations in their communities on neighborhood-level climate preparedness. Through their engagement, businesses will take a step towards advocating for robust policy at the municipal and state levels necessary to mitigate and adapt to the change the science shows is coming.
The campaign will be focused on Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, East Boston, Fort Point and Innovation District neighorhoods. The CALC team hit the streets early in June leading up to last night/tonight’s reception, where the City of Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Brian Swett and CALC business leaders Susan Labandibar and Jim Newman will speak on climate adaptation strategies for small businesses and the City’s efforts to prepare for climate change. Our launch reception for this campaign was this evening/last night (pending date of blog release), with Brian Swett, the City of Boston’s Chief of Energy, Environment, and Open Space, Susan Labandibar, CEO of Tech Networks of Boston and founder of CALC, and Jim Newman of Linnean Solutions speaking on the City of Boston’s efforts and business needs and opportunities to prepare and build resiliency in the face of the changing climate and rising seas. The event also gave business leaders, the climate advocacy community, and local community members the chance to gather and connect on this pressing challenge.
CALC plans to support the businesses engaged in this campaign to begin or continue their efforts to adapt and prepare their businesses to be resilient through taking the steps in our Small Business Guide to Climate Adaptation. We also plan to spur them into convening neighborhood preparedness meetings in their community.
Landry’s Bicycles, one of many businesses participating in the program.
CALC’s metric-driven sustainability program helps our member businesses achieve measurable results. Our projects aim to help our businesses reduce their global impact while improving their bottom line. Our climate policy framework assists member businesses in identifying and acting on opportunities to advocate for better climate policies at all levels of government. We balance member education, public outreach, dialogue with officials, and publicity about successful business and community climate change initiatives. As we believe that the viability of a small business is intertwined with the resiliency and prosperity of their local economy, CALC works to foster connectivity within local communities and promote small business leadership. With this foundation, communities will be better prepared to respond to the economic and environmental challenges of the future. We do this by organizing events, preparing summary materials and creating and participating in opportunities for business leaders to speak, write or participate directly in policy conversations.
In addition to being an online platform for Boston’s community to learn and share resources in the service of climate action, Greenovate Boston is home to a variety of programs and partnerships that benefit the city while supporting the achievement of our climate action goals mentioned above. These programs and partnerships fall into four categories: Climate Action and Energy; Greenspace, Parks, and Trees; Transit and Transportation; and Waste Reduction.
To get specific of the sea level rise that is inspiring our action, the Boston Harbor Association’s report examines Boston’s vulnerability to coastal flooding in two scenarios: 5 feet above current average high tide (MHHW+5) and 7.5 feet above current average high tide (MHHW+7.5), which correspond to, respectively, the current 100-year storm surge and the estimated 100-year storm surge “possibly as soon as just after 2050”. In analyzing total footprint and the ten largest properties in Boston to experience flooding in these scenarios, the report found that in the MHHW+5 scenario, 6.6% of Boston (including all of Boston’s coastal neighborhoods, harbor islands, and 65% of the Fort Point historic district and the proposed Blackstone Block district) would flood, and in the MHHW+7.5 scenario, just over 30% of Boston would flood. This 30+% represents 35-40% of “all exempt, industrial, commercial and mixed use lands in Boston. More than 50 percent of 12 Boston neighborhoods would be flooded” with East Boston having the largest flooded area.
CALC has enjoyed taking on this campaign and looks forward to taking this effort into its next phase of outreach and support. To keep up with the campaign on social media, follow @BARSBoston and @climateliaisons on Twitter, and Climate Action Liaison Coalition on Facebook. To join the conversation with Greenovate Boston, follow @GreenovateBos and check out engage.greenovateboston.org.
Cross-posted from the American Sustainable Business Council.