Spring 2018 Newsletter
Extreme weather, natural disasters and recovery: 
Switzer Fellows at the forefront
Executive Director
Lissa Widoff
The Switzer Foundation prides itself on supporting leaders who have the determination to find solutions to real world environmental problems. We select Fellows for their chosen expertise and leadership, and for their ability to seek solutions at the intersection of different fields, perspectives and disciplines.

Nowhere is this more evident than when we look at how Fellows and their colleagues are working to prepare for and recover from the increasing prevalence of climate-influenced natural disasters, along with the sadly common oil spills, toxic releases and more. In this newsletter, we want to highlight how Fellows are applying their skills and expertise to advance planning, rapid response and where possible, restoration. Recovery efforts create opportunities for society to rebuild our human systems in ways that can be more sustainable (for example rebuilding Puerto Rico's post-hurricane energy system with low carbon infrastructure instead of fossil fuels) and integrate social and economic realities of affected and vulnerable communities, as well as restoring ecological and natural systems.

As we face increasing uncertainty about climate impacts, we can already observe the extreme weather, melting glaciers, rising sea-levels and the vulnerability of cities as well as small communities. It is a new call to action that we use our scientific knowledge, social understanding and ability to influence policy and our communities, to prepare for these changes, find resiliency in our communities, and find the linkages between our ecological and human efforts, so that we can lead by example for the future. We remain proud of the groundbreaking work of our Fellows, and how they teach us to observe, ask questions, get engaged, and make a difference!
Leadership Stories
Kimberley Rain Miner: Preparing for the disasters we never saw coming

Is it possible to identify and stop a climate change disaster before it happens? Fellow Kimberley Rain Miner believes it might be with the proper predictions and preparations in a broad range of scenarios.

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Meredith Niles:  How social capital and social media impact food security during extreme weather events

How can social capital and social media benefit communities experiencing climate shocks or extreme events? Fellow  Meredith Niles examines food systems sustainability and policy with a focus on food security and climate change.
Kristen Goodrich: Flood resilience in the U.S.-Mexico border region

How can we learn from communities to understand risk and support resilience planning? Fellow Kristen Goodrich sees flood planning in a completely different way than the engineers who usually plan for major storm events, bringing the human experience of flooding to the planning process.

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Daniel Morris: Fiscal impacts of major disasters on government planning

How do we ensure funds are available on a national or even international scale when climate disasters strike? Fellow Daniel Morris has spent recent years working to help make communities and countries more financially resilient in the face of catastrophic disasters in the future.

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Bruni Pizarro: Documenting the effects of climate change on marginalized populations

Fellow Bruni Pizarro is following the lives of Puerto Rican climate refugees as they make a new home in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Fellow Perspectives
Ayana Johnson: In a time of hurricanes, we must talk about environmental conservation

Fellow Ayana Johnson says after a natural disaster (strengthened by our warmer planet) is exactly the time to talk about environmental conservation. It protects lives and property, and makes places like Puerto Rico far more self-reliant when disaster strikes.

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Dena Adler: Hurricanes' contaminated floodwaters might crest next wave of climate change litigation

Fellow Dena Adler writes that recent storms could usher in a wave of climate change-related lawsuits. The litigation dodges the sticky issue of climate change attribution - facilities and municipalities are liable for failing to undertake adequate preparatory, safety, and control measures without needing to prove a link between global climate change, the particular storm, and actual harms suffered.

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Shaye Wolf: Before Hurricane Harvey, Trump canceled coastal flood protections

Hurricane Harvey unleashed heart-breaking devastation in South Texas. But the troubling truth is that even more damage is in store in the years ahead as climate change worsens - and our federal government is now on track to be less prepared, writes Fellow Shaye Wolf.

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Lisa Micheli: At Santa Rosa's Pepperwood Preserve, nature rebounds from massive wildfire

"There is beauty in the Pepperwood landscape now," said Fellow Lisa Micheli, president of the Pepperwood Preserve in northern California, which was damaged by the Tubbs fire that destroyed nearly 7,000 Sonoma County dwellings in 2017. "It is in a renewal process."

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Carina Bracer: Really? A climate refugee?

Fellow Carina Bracer and her family were living on Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit in October. She and her children were able to get off the island relatively quickly, but not before she experienced the devastation and failure of the island's recovery. She is now living in Austin, Texas, and recently co-founded the Austin Network for International Impact Professionals with Fellow David Kramer. "Whatever is in our power to help minimize by controlling ocean warming, we absolutely must," she writes.

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Upcoming Events
New England Fall Fellows' Retreat
September 14-16, 2018

Warren Inn and Conference Center, Ashland, MA

California Fall Fellows' Retreat
September 28-30, 2018

NatureBridge at Golden Gate, Sausalito, CA
Foundation News

2018 Fellows selected!

We have selected our 2018 class of Fellows and will be announcing them on our website this summer.

Farewell to Don Brackett

After 15 years of steadfast service, our Administrative Director, Don Brackett, is retiring from the Foundation. On June 6 we will welcome Laine Kuehn as our new Administrative Coordinator.
A vibrant community of environmental leaders