“We have a movement” — Mayor Kevin Johnson calls on policymakers to forge more resilient nation
Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, Calif., delivered a major national address last Friday at the National Press Club, outlining a blueprint for local leaders to join together and implement solutions to build a more resilient America.
“The good news is that we have a movement and a call to action to engage mayors across the country,” said Johnson, the keynote speaker at USGBC’s National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and Security in the 21st Century. “The Resilient Communities for America Campaign is about being proactive city by city. And with that, building a more resilient nation. As I said in June when the campaign launched, we believe now is the time to take powerful, proactive steps to safeguard our communities, adapt to extreme weather, solve our energy challenges and transform adversity into economic opportunity.”
Johnson, who received a standing ovation after his remarks, serves as the chair of the Resilient Communities for America (RC4A) Campaign, a national effort that seeks to mobilize hundreds of U.S. local elected officials — mayors, county executives, city council members, etc. — to join together to create more resilient cities, towns and counties and overcome our nation’s extreme weather, energy and economic challenges. RC4A is a joint effort led by USGBC, the National League of Cities, ICLEI USA, and the World Wildlife Fund.
“By fostering resilient communities, we will forge a more resilient America,” Johnson said. “As mayors, I know we’ll do our part to anticipate these threats, limit their impacts and make the necessary preparations to recover smarter, greener and stronger.”
And thanks to Johnson’s leadership, we’re beginning to witness a full constellation of unique leadership efforts at every level of government: from President Obama, to our governors and especially among our mayors and other local leaders.
The powerful message of resilience is spreading from community to community. “Resiliency is really about leadership to strengthen and safeguard communities,” Johnson added. “It will create jobs. It will save us money. It will make us more energy secure. It will power innovation. It will make us more competitive. And it will fuel future prosperity.”
To date, more than 90 mayors and other local officials have signed on to the Resilient Communities for America Agreement since June, committing to building stronger communities. Signatories are getting access to exclusive resources and opportunities, most recently participating in an invitation-only workshop with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate at the National Academy of Sciences. A few weeks from now, ICLEI and the World Wildlife Fund will release a new toolkit to help signatories communicate about resilience in the aftermath of devastating weather events like those that have befallen Colorado communities in recent days.
“Fortunately, our cities are already leading the way in implementing many critical climate resilient policies," said Mike Schmitz, executive director of ICLEI. “But to be successful, we have to get these clean energy and smart planning strategies to scale, and we have to share best practices among cities in real time."
In an era of rapid change and new challenges, any mayor, councilperson or county supervisor can demonstrate leadership and access resources by signing on at http://www.resilientamerica.org/sign-the-e-agreement-here/.