New AUNE Center to Support the White House Climate Data Initiative

Antioch University New England (AUNE) is creating the new Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, based on its deep experience in research, education, and community engagement in climate-change preparedness and adaptation. This Center will be a resource to support the President’s Climate Data Initiative, which was announced by the White House today.

President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative encourages private and public innovators to apply data on climate-change risks and impacts in ways that can help citizens, businesses, and communities make smart choices. The early focus of the initiative is preparing for coastal impacts of climate change, which is related to particular areas of expertise at AUNE.

“We’re pleased to support the Climate Data Initiative,” said Abigail Abrash Walton, director of AUNE’s Center for Academic Innovation and assistant to the president for Sustainability/Social Justice, who is attending the launch at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.  “Through AUNE faculty leadership, we have been making an impact, working with communities, to contribute to effective local decision making so that communities become more resilient.  Research and public engagement by our faculty and students particularly benefit communities dealing with the challenges of climate change.  This new effort creates a vehicle through which we can easily broaden our impact and form new initiatives and partnerships.”

AUNE’s major commitment to building community capacity to address climate change impacts is the creation of the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.  The Center will expand on a decade of AUNE’s climate adaptation research and modeling, community engagement and technical assistance, and  sustainable development and climate change education.

The kick-off for the new Center will be through a unique conference for municipal, county, and regional leaders on the frontlines of climate change adaptation. AUNE is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the event, Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference, which will be held from May 19-21 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The conference will focus on the region stretching from the upper Chesapeake Bay watershed to Maine and will leverage the data-driven expertise of a wide range of organizations and individuals.

Michael Simpson, chair of AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies, where he has been on the faculty since 1985, is the catalyst and main organizer of the conference.  Simpson, a climate adaptation scientist, has conducted cutting-edge research focusing on storm water management through built and natural systems and stakeholder engagement.

See the White House Fact Sheet that describes the Climate Data Initiative, including AUNE’s contribution.