Purpose & Strategies

The Collaborative is a Cape-wide campaign to unite the varied expertise and experience of Cape Cod organizations to address the impacts of climate change. Here on the Cape we have an acute understanding of the threats of climate change- warmer ocean waters, sea level rise and increased storm intensity. The challenge for the Collaborative is to spur local and regional actions to mitigate these impacts by linking available knowledge, talent and tools of Cape Cod organizations.

The Local and Regional Climate Change Challenge

Cape Cod, the landform, is the product of climatic warming – its sediments were released by retreating glacial ice sheets less than 20,000 years ago as global temperatures rose following the most recent “ice age”. Human-induced changes in global climate will accelerate sea level rise to rates that Cape Cod has not experienced for thousands of years, and we do not know how the systems that exist today will respond. Other climate-related changes as well – temperature, precipitation, storm frequency and intensity, for example – will have as yet undetermined impacts on the Cape’s ecosystems and, as a result, on human health and welfare. (Dr. Graham Giese, Center for Coastal Studies).
There is a very high confidence (>90% chance) that sea level will rise between 8 inches and 6.6 feet by 2100. This is higher and will be faster than any increases during the past 2000 years. Sea levels have risen 1 foot since 1900 in the Northeast. This rate exceeds the global average of 8 inches and the rate in the Northeast is expected to continue to exceed the global average (National Climate Assessment 2014)

Goals of the Collaborative

The goals of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative are to:

  1. Develop a set of Cape-wide benchmarks for reducing dependence on fossil fuels
  2. Assist local organizations in identifying and developing achievable objectives for reducing their carbon footprints
  3. Monitor progress toward reaching those objectives
  4. Educate youth about the causes of climate change and generate youth participation in these carbon reduction activities, and
  5. Publicize progress made toward individual and Cape-wide bench-marks

Principles and Strategies to meet the Goals
Principles – local and regional focus stimulates behavioral change and bubbles up to state and federal levels; education focused on challenge and advocacy skills leads to action; establishment of specific objectives, baseline data, and benchmarks stimulates movement toward those objectives.
Strategies – pledges, supported by baseline data, benchmarks, and tools for reaching objectives; education of youth, adults, organizations, and the general public; public awareness of local and Cape-wide carbon footprints, recent progress in reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and goals for further reductions.

Operational Focus

  1. Develop a set of Cape-wide benchmarks for reducing dependence on fossil fuels
    • These will focus on individuals, organizations, towns, and the Cape as a whole.
  2. Assist local organizations in identifying and developing achievable objectives for reducing their carbon footprints
    • Local organizations will learn how to calculate their carbon footprints, set achievable benchmarks for reducing those impacts and identify and implement specific strategies for accomplishing those reductions.
    • This can be accomplished by a free energy assessment from the Cape Light Compact, and using an on-line U.S. EPA Carbon Footprint calculator to identify effective actions.
  3. Monitor progress toward reaching those objectives
    • The Collaborative will track each participant’s pledge, targets and progress made on achieving the targets on its website.
  4. Educate Youth about climate science and climate change
    • Students age 8-18 will learn the basic concepts of climate science as it relates to climate change, and be prepared and encouraged to engage in activities designed to reduce individual and community level reliance on fossil fuels.
    • This strategy will be accomplished by encouraging and supporting local schools to teach these basic scientific concepts, organizing after school activities designed to foster advocacy and planned change skills in youth, and linking youth to ongoing community-level carbon footprint reduction efforts.
    • Local organizations (municipalities, schools, religious settings, businesses, non-profits, etc.) will be encouraged to involve local youth in their strategies for reducing their carbon footprints.
    • This will be accomplished by inviting local organizations to involve youth in the planning and implementation of their reduction strategies and connecting those organizations with interested youth.
  5. Publicize progress made toward individual and Cape-wide bench-marks
    • The general public will learn of recent achievements on Cape Cod at reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and be kept informed about plans for and progress toward further reductions in that dependence.
    • On an annual basis, the Collaborative will hold a summit to discuss progress made, challenges to meeting the targets and opportunities for further reductions in fossil fuel consumption on Cape Cod.
    • The Collaborative website will be accessible to all.