Two Climate Workgroups Focused on Community Engagement in Montgomery County

Two Climate Workgroups Focused on Community Engagement in Montgomery County

Montgomery County has launched a planning process to develop prioritized actions and strategies to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals of 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035. The county has already formed three “technical workgroups” of experienced volunteers that will help in this effort. Now the county is seeking volunteers for two additional workgroups.

Montgomery was the first county in the nation to declare a “climate emergency.” Earlier this summer, three technical workgroups — on buildings, clean energy and transportation — were formed to help identify the needed strategies. The county is now seeking volunteers to serve on workgroups focused on community engagement and education and climate adaptation.

Interested individuals should have expertise related to the workgroup topics, including identifying economic and equity challenges and opportunities that might arise in meeting these goals. Applicants not selected for the original three workgroups will automatically be considered for the new workgroups. The deadline to submit letters of interest is Sept. 15.

The workgroups will:

Review past County climate reports and plans and best practices from other jurisdictions.

Recommend actions and innovative strategies for community engagement/education and for climate adaptation/sequestration.

Identify metrics that can be tracked, as well as data and knowledge gaps that could benefit from additional technical analysis.

Each workgroup will consist of community members as well as county staff. Workgroups will convene approximately once a month from Fall 2019 to early 2020. Meetings will be held on a weekday or weeknight, in Rockville or Silver Spring. Workgroup members are expected to attend each meeting in person.

Following the workgroup convening process, the public will be invited to review the workgroup findings and provide input. A description of each workgroup:

Climate Adaptation and Sequestration Workgroup: Climate change has created new weather patterns. Here, this is most evident in the frequency of rainfall events that create flooding and drainage issues. This workgroup will develop recommendations for reducing the county’s climate change vulnerability and strengthening the county’s ability to prepare for and withstand threats (known as hazard mitigation). Other topics for exploration include the effect of periods of high heat on vulnerable populations, the reliability of the electric grid and the reliability of public infrastructure. The workgroup also will develop recommendations for carbon sequestration, which is the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it (such as in soil through tree planting or regenerative agriculture). Specific skills/background sought for volunteers: public health, agriculture, green infrastructure, emergency management, climatology, utility/energy management, social services and/or finance/economics.

Public Engagement/Education Workgroup: Engaging the public regarding climate change and the county’s aggressive climate goals is vital to the success of all other county efforts. If the public does not understand the issues the county is trying to address, and the policies and programs that may be put in place, the county’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts will not reach their full potential. This workgroup will identify opportunities to communicate with and educate residents about the urgency of taking climate action; advise on effective communications strategies for engagement with diverse audiences; identify partners and linkages to other issues that people care about (such as public health); identify and promote resources that people can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate at the household level; and identify mechanisms to conduct on-going “climate conversations” with residents. Specific skills/background sought for volunteers: marketing and communications. Education, youth perspectives, public health and/or community leaders.

Qualified community members interested in volunteering with one or more workgroups can submit an expression of interest, cover letter and resume by Sept. 15 to Anyone interested in serving on multiple workgroups should indicate their first and second choices.