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Local Climate Action

Working with Partners

Dickinson serves as a resource to facilitate local action on climate change and community resilience.

Dickinson and Carlisle participated in the first cohort of college-community partners in Pennsylvania’s Local Climate Action Program (PA LCAP) in 2019. Dickinson students, Carlisle Borough Council Members, and Center for Sustainability Education staff worked together, with assistance from the PA Department of Environmental Protection and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, to estimate Carlisle’s greenhouse gas emissions, develop scenarios of future emissions, and research options for reducing emissions. The work helped catalyze and provide input to Carlisle’s Climate Action Plan, which was developed with assistance from Dickinson students, staff, and faculty and adopted in 2022.

In 2020, Dickinson joined with Cumberland County and Shippensburg University to participate in the second cohort of college-community partners in PA LCAP. Students, staff, and faculty from Dickinson and Shippensburg, working with staff from Cumberland County’s Planning Department, estimated current and projected future county-level emissions, researched options for action, and contributed to development of the county’s Climate Action Plan, which was adopted in 2022.

The local climate action plans build on earlier engagement of Dickinson with the community on climate change. In 2016, Dickinson students assessed community resilience in Carlisle to climate, economic, and other disturbances using the City Resilience Index (CRI) and conducted a workshop attended by more than 30 community stakeholders to validate their findings. Dickinson and Carlisle were the first to pilot the CRI for a small town, a tool developed by Arup International for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities initiative.

In 2018, Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education convened Carlisle and Cumberland County community leaders to participate in two weeks of Resilience Dialogues as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Findings from the Dialogues contributed to the 2019 update of Carlisle’s comprehensive plan, which includes a section and goals for community resilience.

Dickinson continues to work with community partners to support implementation of Carlisle and Cumberland County’s climate action plans. This work is expanding to include climate change adaptation and resilience as part of the Climate Resilience Initiative that is being launched in 2023.

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