Addressing Climate Change at the Community Level in the United States: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Addressing Climate Change at the Community Level in the United States

1st Edition

Edited by Paul R. Lachapelle, Don E. Albrecht


300 pages | 57 B/W Illus.

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The concept of community, in all its diverse definitions and manifestations, provides a unique approach to learn more about how groups of individuals and organizations are addressing the challenges posed by climate change. This new volume highlights specific cases of communities developing innovative approaches to climate mitigation and adaptation around the United States. Defining community more comprehensively than just spatial geography to include also communities of interest, identity and practice, this book highlights how individuals and organizations are addressing the challenges posed by climate change through more resilient social processes, government policies and sustainable practices.

Through close examinations of community efforts across the United States, including agricultural stakeholder engagement and permaculture projects, coastal communities and prolonged drought areas, and university extension and local governments, this book shows the influence of building individual and institutional capacity toward addressing climate change issues at the community level. It will be useful to community development students, scholars and practitioners learning to respond to unexpected shocks and address chronic stress associated with climate change and its impacts.


"In this time of dire consequences attributed to the effects of climate change, Addressing Climate Change at the Community Level and its contributors offer us a shred of hope in this compendium of essays about communities and their actions to becoming more resilient and adaptive. The reader is also offered other ways of thinking about ‘community’— we are more than just the places we come from and our survival on this planet depends on that notion." -Mark Apel, Area Agent for Community Resource Development, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

"By focusing on community and the lived experience of climate change, this book advances a compelling portfolio of ways people are working together against what are too often portrayed as insurmountable challenges. Kudos to a stellar group of authors for a refreshing view into what is possible." -Courtney Flint, Professor of Natural Resource Sociology, Utah State University

"In a refreshing approach, rather than staking out strident political positions, this book focuses on the real climate change issues communities face. Locally-relevant, scientifically-based, and action-oriented, the authors share outstanding approaches and innovative ideas for understanding, strategizing, and acting on climate change challenges. Most importantly, we learn how to authentically engage communities of interest and place in developing practices that promote resiliency and sustainability. It’s a must read for community development practitioners." -Greg Wise, Emeritus Professor of Community Development, University of Wisconsin Extension

"A much-needed handbook for those working in the field of community development. This is a highly accessible text for practitioners, scholars and policy makers alike as they support vulnerable communities to prepare for the challenges that climate change is already bringing and which will become ever more taxing. Please read this excellent book to help you prepare." -Charlie McConnell, Past President International Association for Community Development

"Climate change has increasing implications for human well-being. In order to better understand responses to climate change, it is important to understand that people experience life and act in contexts structured by their communities. This book takes a broad approach to community, considering communities of geographic place and also communities of practice, interest, and identity. By examining various topics and cases in each of these types of communities, the book makes an important contribution to our understanding of human responses and community approaches to climate change." -Jennifer E. Givens, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Utah State University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Community Approaches to Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century

Paul Lachapelle and Don Albrecht


Chapter 2: Earth's Changing Climate: A Community Primer

Rob Davies

Chapter 3: Public Opinion on Climate Change in Rural America: A Potential Barrier to Resilience

Shawn K. Olson-Hazboun and Peter D. Howe

Chapter 4: Building Local Resilience to Climate Change through Citizen Science, Environmental Education, and Decision-making

Erin E. Posthumus, LoriAnne Barnett, Theresa M. Crimmins, Jody Einerson, Esperanza Stancioff and Peter L. Warren

Chapter 5: Creating a Civic Spark: Using AmeriCorps National Service to Catalyze Rural Climate Change Action

Kif Scheuer, Kristen Wraith and Kristin Brubaker

Chapter 6: Participatory Research to Assess the Climate Resiliency of Snow-fed River Dependent Communities: A Collaborative Modeling Case Study in the Truckee-Carson River System

Loretta Singletary and Kelley Sterle

Chapter 7: Nevada’s Approach to Minimizing the Risk from Prolonged Drought

Mark Walker and Kerri Jean Ormerod


Chapter 8: Mitigating Projected Impacts of Climate Change and Building Resiliency through Permaculture

Roslynn Brain McCann, Jeremy Lynch and Jeff Adams

Chapter 9: Engaging Southeastern Science Educators in the Development of a Climate Change Instructional Module

Martha C. Monroe and Annie Oxarart

Chapter 10: Engaging with Michigan Agricultural Stakeholders to Address Climate Change

Julie E. Doll and Claire Needham Bode

Chapter 11: Communicating Climate Change at the Community Level

Huston Gibson

Chapter 12: University Extension Communities of Practice: Learning, Communicating, and Engaging on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the United States Corn Belt

Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, J. Arbuckle, Jamie Benning, Lois Wright Morton and Adam Wilke


Chapter 13: Variables Influencing the Adoption of Sustainability Programs by Local Governments

John J. Duffy and Susan Todd

Chapter 14: Supporting Climate Adaptation Planning in Northwest Alaska

Nathan P. Kettle, Josephine-Mary Sam, Sarah F. Trainor and Glenn T. Gray

Chapter 15: Financial Resilience of Local Government Impacted by Natural Disasters: A Framework for Calculating Climate Change Risk Liability

J. Matthew Fannin

Chapter 16: The Role of Community Capitals in Climate Change Adaptation in Binational Setting

Kristen A. Goodrich, Danielle Boudreau, Jeffrey A. Crooks, Ana Eguiarte and Julio Lorda

Chapter 17: Engaging Citizens to Address Community Climate Change Issues

Daniel Kahl and Amber Campbell

Chapter 18 : Local Adaptation to Climate Change: What Comes Next?

Don Albrecht and Paul Lachapelle

About the Editors

Paul Lachapelle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Montana State University in Bozeman and serves as the Extension Community Development Specialist. Working in partnership with the Local Government Center, his responsibilities involve providing research, technical assistance and training on various community development topics. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation with a focus on natural resource policy and governance and currently serves as the President of the International Association for Community Development and Editor of the Community Development Society Current Issues Book Series.

Don Albrecht began his role as the Director of the Western Rural Development Center in July 2008. He received a B.S. in Forestry, an M.S. in Sociology from Utah State University and a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University. He then served as a member of the faculty at Texas A&M University for 27 years where he worked in the Departments of Rural Sociology and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences. He has researched and written extensively on the issues confronting the communities and residents of rural America. Among the issues explored are natural resource concerns, economic restructuring, demographic trends, poverty, inequality and education.

About the Series

Community Development Research and Practice Series

This series serves community developers, planners, public administrators and others involved in practice and policy making in the realm of community development. Building on a 40 year history of publishing the journal, Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, the book series seeks to contribute to the growing and rapidly changing knowledge base as a resource for practitioners and researchers alike.


To find out more about the Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society please visit:


For more information about the Community Development Society please visit:

Series Editor:

Rhonda G. Phillips
Purdue University, USA

Editorial Board:

Mark Brennan
Pennsylvania State University, USA

Jan Flora
Iowa State University, USA

Gary P. Green
University of Wisconsin, USA

Brian McGrath
National University of Ireland

Norman Walzer
Northern Illinois University, USA

Patricia A. Wilson
University of Texas, Austin, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning