Growing Returns

Activating social science for flood risk and resilience planning in Louisiana and beyond.

Climate change is increasingly threatening the homes, health, livelihoods and cultural heritage of communities across Louisiana’s coast. The Bayou State is experiencing the fastest rate of coastal land loss in the country and has already lost nearly 2,000 square miles of land since the 1930s. Louisiana is taking important steps to address this risk, implementing the most comprehensive coastal planning in the nation with massive infrastructure investments for restoration and resilience.  

While the state’s Coastal Master Plan incorporates the most advanced technologies and engineering, it should also include an understanding of individual and community behavior and what motivates people to act in response to climate risk – a critical component of resilience. Many factors can influence the actions people are willing to take, whether switching jobs, voting for climate policies, flood-proofing a home or business, or even choosing to relocate. That’s why we need an understanding of the unique motivations that spur individual and community action in order to equitably allocate resources. 

To fill this information gap, we need scientific analysis of how people and their social networks in coastal Louisiana perceive, respond and adapt to extreme ecological changes and climate impacts. Working with partners at Cornell University, we set out to do just that.  

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Virginia must stay in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to successfully address its flood crisis.

In 2020, Virginia made history as the first southern state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a highly successful, multistate carbon emissions cap-and-invest program for the electricity sector.

In its first year, the commonwealth netted $228 million through auction proceeds, with half going toward low-income energy efficiency and weatherization programs and 45% dedicated to Virginia’s statewide Community Flood Preparedness Fund. The fund has made tens of millions of dollars available for local governments and tribes to build capacity, plan and implement flood resilience projects.

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