Resilient Jax Ponders How It Can Better Help The City Deal With Climate Change

Nov 30, 2020

During Monday’s meeting, members of Resilient Jax discussed how to grow the organization in the coming year to better help Jacksonville prepare for the effects of climate change.

Resilient Jax, formerly known as the Resiliency and Climate Change Coalition, formed earlier this year with the goal of supporting Jacksonville’s new Special Committee on Resiliency.

Much of the organization’s time and effort over the past year has been devoted to working with that committee to develop and create public policy, like recently finalized legislation designed to help mitigate the risks of sea level rise and flooding.

After a year of growth that saw members embed themselves in all aspects of the city’s Resiliency Committee, the group is now considering a slew of initiatives to widen its reach and improve its efficiency — including the hiring of a full time executive director.

“All the things that we want to do we will do better with the right person working full time as an executive director to help us,” said John Burr, who writes Resilient Jax’s blog.

The organization is already looking to hire a part-time Outreach and Communications Coordinator and is also considering applying for nonprofit status.

Additionally, while many members of Resilient Jax already serve as subject matter experts on the city’s Special Committee on Resiliency and frequently contribute to meetings, there is now talk of the group getting involved in a more official capacity and even acting as support for a Chief Resilience Officer, which is expected to be hired in Jacksonville in the near future.

“I think what it seems like people are saying is, ‘Yes, we need to do the advocacy, we need to do the public policy, but we also need to do empowerment, engagement and events,’” Shannon Blankinship, Chair of Resilient Jax and Advocacy Director for the St. Johns Riverkeeper, said after conducting a public poll designed to gauge where members think the group should focus its efforts going forward.

Blankinship said the suggestions given during Monday’s meeting would be taken to the steering committee at the end of the week.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.