Elementor #4879

Meaning-making in the struggle for climate justice:

Your life and your support matter.

Image credit: Jared Dominguez

Climate change is the defining threat of our time:

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez has described climate change as a crisis multiplier, the defining issue of our time. In the words of David Attenborough, it is “the biggest security threat” that humanity has faced1https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14445.doc.htm. Addressing climate change has, and will continue to be, a lifelong challenge for our team at CEPB and for many of you reading this message. For many of us, it is our core mission. For others, it is deeply intersectional to our struggles for justice2 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/why-is-climate-change-a-racial-justice-issue/ .

We are part of something bigger than ourselves:

For most of our team, and perhaps for you reading this message, what drives us is not merely surviving climate change but a deep sense of purpose, knowing that we are a tiny part of the human component of a grand, self-regulating earth system, one that itself has the potential to thrive3https://courses.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/Courses/EPS281r/Sources/Gaia/Gaia-hypothesis-wikipedia.pdf. Being part of a complex system suggests that every human being is more than a chance at happiness or a flicker of light in the universe: we are closer than family, pieces of a greater whole with important roles to play, and whose contributions, no matter how small, uniquely matter.

Tipping points in crisis can create systemic change:

Because climate change threatens us all, it is imperative that we each with our own unique contribution find ways to change the human systems that, like some cancer on the planet, extract and monopolize resources in ways that disrupt our homeostasis, our chances of survival. Often elusive, systemic change is most likely to occur when, at a point of crisis, those who are most vulnerable and disempowered by current systems are most organized and connected4http://whynationsfail.com/. It happens when the gains of cooperation outcompete the gains of capital and extraction5https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5R-9X_BtP4.

Everyone's role is important:

Our mission at CEPB is to contribute to this opportunity for systemic change during the inflection point of the climate crisis. We do this by finding out who is most vulnerable to climate impacts and building supportive connections to maximize the agency of those actors most well-posed to make change. Whether you are a donor, a volunteer, a staff member in a supporting role, or a local activist or partner organization, we are not just on the same team: We are extensions of one another, each performing critical functions to keep human beings and the earth alive and well.

Your support has a magnified impact:

Measuring the cost effectiveness of social resilience work can be challenging, particularly around work that addresses global risks. However, we can share with you the overall costs and impacts of our work, and information on the typical SROI of related activities. Our total revenue since our founding has been $250k, with $56k of that revenue in 2021. With that income, we developed a strategy for seeking out and building partnerships with community leaders in and from high risk areas, and supported them in achieving the impactful projects featured here.

Because our operations are highly cost effective, each project described here takes about $10k per year to conduct and about $30k over three years to achieve impact and scale. As of May 2022, $200 keeps our whole organization going for one day (and ensures our team can spend the whole day fully focused on supporting local climate justice work, not fundraising). Each hour of paid staff time, including overhead, is about $25 in total. Most of that time is spent in critical coordination roles, enabling local leadership to achieve maximum impact and ensuring that dynamic partnerships fostering community climate resilience are functioning well. The cost benefit analysis of this type of social resilience work is very challenging to measure, but the Global Commission on Adaptation’s Adapt Now report estimates the Social Return on Investment (SROI) for climate adaptation work is usually between 2x and 10x6https://wrirosscities.org/news/release-joint-statement-accelerating-climate-adaptation-%E2%80%981000-cities-adapt-now%E2%80%997https://gca.org/reports/, meaning that every dollar you give likely produces between 2 and 10 times as much value for the communities benefiting as you put in.

Help us dedicate one day to you:

The local leaders CEPB supports do things that each of us individually would not be able to do on our own, and it brings our team great joy to see their incredible work. One of the aspects of our team that makes us special compared to larger organizations is that you can connect with any member of our team and experience the same awe and appreciation we do each day. Here are some quick things you can do to connect right now and make a difference.

  • Donate $200 (individually or with friends) here and book a time with one of our team members to learn everything our team is going to be doing that day, thanks to your donation.
  • Share your impact with friends! We’ll follow up with a photo or short clip from our meeting and a summary of the impact you made, which you can keep for your own memories or share with as many people as you’d like.
  • Ask a few people to join you in donating. If you are like us, you want to be doing good all the time and building supportive friendships. When we talk, we’ll be happy to share what we have learned about how to ask for favors in ways that benefit others and make people feel happy by focusing on building relationships.

Lake Chad Updates

Community Partnerships in the Lake Chad Basin Region

Lake Chad remains one of the largest lakes in Africa and serves as a livelihood source for over 20 million people. Its surface area, which varies by season and year, falls mainly in the far west of Chad, bordering northeast Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger Republic. The lake, whose water resources previously provided for the livelihood of many communities, has lost over 90% of its water volume and resources in the past 50 years, intensifying conflicts between farming and herding communities whose livelihoods have been impacted by these losses.

Extensive study confirms that climate impacts will bring more changes in the region, including dryness, higher winds, longer periods of drought, tropical storms, and displacement of communities due to agricultural land and resource loss. Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supplies, and human security will increase as global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next two decades, an amount already locked in by our existing emissions.

​​Actions that can address these issues while reducing our emissions intensity include combined strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation, community resilience building, afforestation, climate smart agriculture, and awareness programs.

CEPB is following the lead of civil society organizations already engaged in addressing these critical challenges. So far, we have engaged with over 20 grassroots organizations to learn more about the region’s most vulnerable communities, which immediate and long-term intervention strategies are already taking place, and which community-based adaptation initiatives and livelihood strategies are proving most promising.

Through these efforts, we are establishing partnerships with grassroots organizations in the region to build human capacity, strengthen awareness programs, support climate smart agricultural initiatives, and resource biogas programs and income-generating tree planting initiatives across communities.

We join our partners in calling for collective action, international solidarity, collaboration, partnerships and funding to combat the climate impacts threatening their communities.

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Literature Review on Desertification in Ceará

Our research fellow Doina Iliescu has written a brief literature review on methodologies for measuring the impacts of climate change and its relationship to desertification. The approaches Doina outlines are essential for identifying efficient measures to prevent hundreds of agricultural communities from having their sources of income threatened by this phenomenon, which is intensified by human actions.

How Peace Rising is Building Local Resilience in Response to COVID-19

How the Center for Environmental Peacebuilding is Building Local Resilience in Response to COVID-19

“It’s not just about access to food; it’s about access to hope” -Jeremy Huffman and Adam Ingrao: veterans, farmers, and SNAP beneficiaries and advocates.

Empty shelves at the grocery store. Cold, hour long waits in lines to be let in. Shrinking grocery budgets putting new strains on hundreds of thousands of people and families. For many, this is the new reality of what used to be a mundane task. In Massachusetts, over 722,171 unemployment claims have been filed over the past 6 weeks. Food insecurity in the state has already increased fourfold, from 9.3% pre-COVID to 38% and rising since the end of March. Families are struggling to put food on the table, and local resources such as food pantries are struggling to meet demand

Federal feeding programs must become more accessible to meet rising pressures, and policymakers need urgent support to help their communities.

That’s why CEPB is working with the City of Cambridge to develop policy solutions addressing local food insecurity in the wake of COVID. Jessie McIsaac, a research fellow at CEPB, completed a policy recommendation urging the City of Cambridge to promote SNAP on a city-wide level, which is currently being reviewed. There have been a number of changes to the federal nutrition assistance program including no wait time to file an application, everyone eligible will receive the maximum household benefit, and all applications will be treated as urgent. Compiling these changes to the program along with SNAP information such as available benefits, application assistance, the new Pandemic EBT program, and a list of available resources such as food pantries, delivery programs, and free meals into a single cohesive document will provide critical information to families and people in need. The policy recommendation urges this information to be sent out in a municipal mailer to every resident in Cambridge, targeting areas of critical unemployment, with extra copies provided to food distribution centers. 

Not only is increasing the spread of SNAP the most direct way to put resources in the hands of residents, it also is the fastest way to boost economic growth.

With more money in the hands of people who need it the most, that results in more money being spent immediately in the local community. The Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective options for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy: researchers have found that every $1 that is spent from SNAP results in $1.73 of economic activity. Increasing SNAP supports local business and drives growth when we need it most. Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Program encourages the use of SNAP at local farms and farmers markets, directly supporting local farms who have also struggled with lost revenue.

We did the math. 

There are currently 5,607 households in Cambridge on SNAP. If the rate of Cambridge food insecurity follows the 4x increase seen overall in the State, up to an extra 16,800 households will join the program. Because the ~$500 maximum household benefit is now offered to every SNAP household, this would result in $8.4 million of federal funding, directly into the hands of Cambridge residents who need it the most, fueling economic growth and supporting struggling local businesses. 

SNAP is a critical resource, not only for fighting food insecurity and building community resilience, but also for supporting local business and fueling economic growth.

If you have lost your job or work hours because of COVID-19, you can apply for SNAP at any time. Call Project Bread’s Hotline for SNAP application assistance at 1-800-645-8333. Monday-Friday: 8am-7pm. Saturday: 10am-2pm.