KLA Perspectives

Devens, MA, Cracks the Waste Nut with a Reuse Hub

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jun 20, 2022 2:38:48 PM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.


One image that represents the perils of our planet is that of a landfill. Look closely and you will see food that could have been composted, plastic and paper that should have been recycled, and loads of items that could have easily been reused or repurposed. In addition, landfills are one of the largest sources of methane, a greenhouse gas that is causing climate change.

Devens, MA, has a different vision. Thanks to the nonprofit Devens Eco-Efficiency Center and The Great Exchange program, on average 30,000 pounds of resources are diverted from landfills every year.

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Topics: infrastructure, local leadership, climate leadership, equity, bright ideas

Climate Change: What Should Individuals and Local Governments Do Together?

Posted by Kim Lundgren on May 27, 2022 11:38:24 AM

It’s “Now or Never”: The Latest Warnings Highlight Need for Immediate, Targeted, Proven Actions

We have a "brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all."

“We've reached the now-or-never point of limiting warming to 1.5C.”

Those were the dire warnings from the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) most recent reports. Although the language was stunning, this was not the first alarm bell to be sounded – but it’s one of the last before it’s too late: “IPCC reports take about seven years to compile, making this potentially the last warning before the world is set irrevocably on a path to climate breakdown,” reported The Guardian.

How do we keep from being paralyzed with fear or denial?

The key is to take action. But not just any action.

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Topics: local leadership, climate leadership, climate science

New Bedford's Strategy for Resilient, Equitable Green Infrastructure

Posted by Kim Lundgren on May 19, 2022 10:55:44 AM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

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Topics: infrastructure, local leadership, climate leadership, equity, bright ideas

New Podcast: John Bolduc's Reflections on a Storied Local Climate Action Career

Posted by Kim Lundgren on May 18, 2022 9:01:44 AM

Kim's latest Sustainability Action Podcast is a conversation with longtime Environmental Planner for Cambridge, MA 

We hear a lot about turnover in local governments, but for more than two decades with the City of Cambridge, MA, John Bolduc bucked the trend. During that time he also became an icon in the world of local climate action planning. 

He joined Kim on her SAS Talk podcast recently to reflect on his career, Cambridge's many achievements, the importance of cities showing bold leadership, and what he sees on the horizon.

LISTEN NOW.

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Topics: local leadership, SAS Talk Podcast, climate leadership

APA #NPC22 Sessions on Climate Action + Editorial Calendars

Posted by Kim Lundgren on May 2, 2022 8:28:03 PM

If you missed our sessions or couldn't make it to the National Planning Conference, we've got you covered

We are keeping busy with a packed APA NPC agenda, including leading one workshop and presenting during a Speed Share. If you didn't come to San Diego (man you're missing some gorgeous weather!) or missed these sessions, you don't want to miss out on all the juicy knowledge and practical tools we shared.

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Topics: local leadership, APA, climate leadership

Encinitas Rides Building Electrification Wave as it Implements Climate Action Plan

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Apr 24, 2022 10:23:51 PM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

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Topics: local leadership, climate leadership, bright ideas, buildings, electrification

Heat Pump Coaches Get Residents -- and Climate Goals -- to Yes

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Mar 28, 2022 10:38:01 AM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

Heat pump coaches in Concord, MA, help meet a climate goal:
getting homeowners to transition to efficient heating and cooling

“Why You (and the Planet) Really Need a Heat Pump.” We saw this headline the other day and our minds went to KLA client Concord, MA.

Like many communities sifting through data to identify the biggest-bang-for-your-buck ways to slash greenhouse gas emissions, getting more residents to switch to heat pumps emerged for Concord as a top strategy. But the process of transitioning a heating or cooling system to a new fuel source – plus choosing the right equipment and installer -- can be daunting for people. To begin with, don’t assume that heat pump technology and the benefits are common knowledge. In fact, a recent survey done by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) found that 50% of Massachusetts residents do not know what heat pumps are.

So it wasn’t surprising that in Concord the uptake of heat pumps to meet climate action goals was happening too slow and needed a nudge.

That nudge comes in the form of a coach.

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Topics: community engagement, local leadership, climate leadership, bright ideas

How an Employee Climate Training Program Can Boost Engagement and Action

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Feb 22, 2022 12:45:00 PM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

A key but often overlooked strategy for local climate action plans is a training program for city/town/county employees to raise awareness of climate challenges and solutions among an important audience.

That wasn’t lost on KLA client San Antonio, which included “educate and empower all residents with knowledge to address climate change in the community and at the workplace” as a strategy in their Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. And they’ve already made good on that promise through a robust and ongoing employee training program.

For a city that employs 13,000 people, leading by example can make a big dent.

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Topics: community engagement, local leadership, climate leadership, bright ideas

Five Things to Consider for Your 2019 Budgeting

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Feb 14, 2018 1:22:42 PM

Many city and county staff and elected officials are hammering away at their 2019 budgets right now.

Has your city or elected official made any big climate or sustainability commitments? Maybe your mayor joined the #WeAreStillIn movement and committed to pursuing the carbon emissions reductions of the global Paris Climate Accord. Are you considering adopting a resolution to transition to 100 percent renewable energy or do you have a local Climate Action/Sustainability/Resilience plan in the works? Or pursuing STAR Communities certification? 

All of those commitments will require plenty of activity in 2018-2019. 

With that in mind, here are 5 things to consider as you are mapping out next year’s budget:

  1. Staffing: Do you have enough staff in place to effectively accomplish your goals? Are their workplans aligned with these goals? Are they empowered with the support and resources they need? What outside help -- volunteers, interns, consultants, school/university partnerships -- should you consider to meet your needs? 
  2. Events and Trainings: Have you accounted for staff travel to important and relevant conferences where they can get new skills, connections and ideas to apply back home? Maybe staff travel is limited for financial and other reasons. Perhaps you can earmark some funds for webinars, online trainings and membership in professional associations which provide access to networks and tools -- all available right from your desk.
  3. Community Engagement: Meaningful community engagement is not free. But it’s critical. These days you need to factor in: opportunities to reach people in person at events (think: Earth Day events, cultural fairs, farmers markets, neighborhood block parties); an online platform and social media so you reach people where they already are; making events and materials accessible (translation, physical limitations); and crafting appropriate messages for different audiences. Inclusive and equitable public engagement is what every community strives for now- are you laying a foundation to do this on an ongoing basis? Are there tools out there that could help you accomplish this? 
  4. Progress Reports. People love commitments by public officials because it means accountability. You might have your ducks in a row for how you plan to meet your pledged goals, but does your community know that? Do you have a simple way to report your progress so that everyday citizens can understand it well enough to track it -- and then ideally be inspired by your successes to take action themselves? There is also increased scrutiny of commitments on a national scale to determine if these local efforts are really working. Make sure you're factoring in time to track and report (more than just sticking charts on a page buried on your city's website) your work. 
  5. Internal Collaboration: So much of what we do on climate, energy, sustainability and community development, by default, straddles a variety of local government departments -- from Public Works to Planning to the Mayor’s office and beyond. Could you pool resources with other departments to accomplish shared goals? Are there events, subscriptions, events, etc., where you could tag-team? What other ways can you collaborate to use funds most efficiently?

It's a lot to consider, the cumulative pricetag could carry some sticker shock, and tough choices mean some of it has to stay on the drawing board for now. 

What if I told you that for less than $10K a year, there's a tool that can help you with everything from staff support to community engagement to interdepartmental collaboration?

Here's what Nashua has to say:  "The Livable Nashua Dashboard created a totally new way for the City to educate the public on the many great initiatives we are already doing, provide transparent data and really start engaging the community on long-term goal setting."

 

The Dashboard is a communication platform that turns your data into stories and those stories into impact. It can help you plug staffing gaps with customization options and additional support such as social media packages, news monitoring and more. We team up with our clients to present the Dashboard on webinars and at conferences. The Dashboard has mechanisms to continuously engage community members in a way that inspires individual action. It allows you to track and report progress toward your goals and share successes. And it can be utilized (on the back-end and public-facing side) by multiple departments seamlessly.

Find out how the Dashboard can help you meet your goals in 2019 at a price point that works for your budget. 

Take a 2-minute video tour of the Dashboard to see how it could work in your community:  

 

 

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Topics: climate action, local leadership, cities, budgeting

Conferences: Content + Connections

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jan 31, 2018 11:53:02 AM

I have spent a good chunk of my career travelling around the country for work. Whether for conferences or to meet with local government clients, I spend enough time in the air to maintain elite airline status. Once I had my daughter, regular travel became a bit harder, but once I arrive at my destination, I am all in. It is so gratifying and inspiring to engage with so many talented people -- many of whom have become not just peers and colleagues but good friends along the way.

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Topics: sustainability, podcast, climate action, local leadership, climate adaptation, climate resiliency, conferences, SAS Talk Podcast, cities