June 4, 2018
AmeriCorps VISTA fellow Michael Roth and Mayor Bill Peduto announced Monday the city’s new climate change initiative “Prepared Pittsburgh.” The program will provide free community classes across the city surrounding “climate-related risks and ongoing stresses affecting their communities.”
“All these programs not only make us a stronger community; they make us stronger individually,” Mr. Peduto said.
Classes will focus on topics such as disaster preparedness, community medicine, energy efficiency and water awareness.
To plan for the future, city officials looked at Pittsburgh’s past.
Mr. Peduto mentioned historical shocks the city endured such as the Great Fire of 1895, floods throughout the 20th century and the ‘80s and ‘90s economic downfall that devastated the region.
“We never prepared for those types of shocks,” Mr. Peduto said.
The mayor cited water and air quality, racial inequality, health care, access to quality housing and education as current “stressors” affecting the city’s population today.
“Those daily stresses have the same cumulative effect as a major disaster has in order to create a resilient city,” Mr. Peduto said. “We not only have to create a resilient city government, but we have to train the people.”
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will be hosting meetings in neighborhood branches across the city. Classes will be funded by a portion of a $25,000 Cities of Service grant that covers the cost of supplies and materials.
Michael Roth, 24, of Point Breeze, helped lead the development of the new program.
Mr. Roth said most classes will fill the A void in disaster preparedness. The energy-efficiency class instructors plan to equip residents with skills to reduce energy bills, improve efficiency and weatherize their homes.
The classes are not intended to be certification courses or to replace the city’s official public-safety responses. The purpose is to teach actions to prevent or ease burdens of shocks and stresses, according to Mr. Roth.
Grant Ervin, the city’s chief resilience officer said the project has been a product of years of city efforts to implement programs to reverse climate change.
“One of the key lessons that we learned in [the climate action plan and One Pittsburgh resilience strategy] was the engagement of community [and] how important it is to bring residents together to both share information but also to learn from one another,” Mr. Ervin said.
People can see a full list of classes through here; click on “Prep PGH.”
Additional Reporting by Adam Smeltz
Status – Unpublished