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#49 The Climate Change Crisis in CT: The Impact on Low-Income Communities and What Can Be Done

December 6, 2022
6:00-7:30 p.m. (virtual)

Climate change is a fact of modern life: flooding, high seas, droughts, less snow, more heat. Bridgeport has currently experienced 6 inches of sea level rise since 1965, which is higher than current global rates. 61% of Connecticut’s 3.6 million residents live in coastal communities prone to flooding. It is estimated that an additional 30% of Connecticut’s population work in coastal areas. Experts claim that it is climate change alone that poses the greatest present and future threat to public health.

As global warming alters our living and working environment, no region will remain unaffected, but as the CT Mirror reports, low-income neighborhoods, people who are homeless, residents with chronic health conditions, and people who are uninsured are more likely to experience dire health consequences before any other population.

This Roundtable will explore what the legal community can do in cooperation with lay activists to avoid and alleviate suffering while building better community resiliencies for us all. We will discuss the current practical (legal/social) framework to address the below issues, and what possible legal changes or modifications/clarifications are needed to effectively and efficiently address them.

The program will focus on a number of topics, including:
• Legal strategies involving planning, zoning and land use;
• Legislative and policymaking steps already taken, as well as those on the horizon;
• Community action in combination with legal strategies;
• Finding a nexus between evolving science and on-going grass roots action; and
• Temperature equity – how best to avoid having the poor bear the brunt of change.

Please join us for this Zoom Roundtable as we explore these timely issues. We will welcome an experienced panel of experts to guide a lively discussion, along with audience participants who have expertise or strong interest in this issue. We hope to begin a discussion that will carry on long after this engaging evening has adjourned.

Attorney Dwight Merriam
Dwight Merriam, Attorney at Law

Lee Cruz
Community Outreach Director
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Louanne Cooley
Legal Policy Fellow 
Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
University of Connecticut, Avery Point & UConn Law

Jan J. Chiaretto
Executive Director
Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut