Fellows in the News

Catalina Garzon of Pacific Institute presented findings from the group’s report on the effects of sea-level rise on the California coast. She used a map of projected flooding to show that people of color living in Oakland’s flatlands are disproportionately vulnerable to flooding from sea-level rise. 

Garzon also reported on adaptation strategies implemented in other communities, including emergency warning systems, repurposing of community centers for emergency use and retrofitting.

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Garrett Fitzgerald, Sustainability Coordinator for the Environmental Services Division of the Oakland Public Works Agency, was in attendance because the city has a lot to learn from the participating organizations, he said. Climate change will be among the most significant challenges the city will have to confront, and he wants to be ready. 

“We want to be resilient in the face of potentially grave impact,” he said. 

According to Fitzgerald, the city recognizes that the effects of climate change are potentially devastating and disproportionate. He says Oakland is committed to making progress, but the city can’t afford to commission all the studies needed to understand the impacts, so reports like Pacific Institute’s provide important information that helps guide city decisions. 

“We want to continue to get smarter as a city government,” he said. “The best way to keep learning is to keep working with these organizations.”

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