The Great American Adaptation Roadtrip: Lessons learned about how hometowns across the United States are building their resilience to climate change

After visiting more than 30 communities across the U.S. that are preparing for climate change, two enterprising young authors identify six big lessons from ongoing adaptation work in this report released by the Georgetown Climate Center.

"The Great American Adaptation Road Trip" explains why these example communities have been successful in implementing their climate adaptation and resilience projects - and describes what is needed to prompt climate change preparation in more places across the country.

The trip began in May 2013, and over the course of 103 days, authors Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard traveled 17,358 miles and interviewed more than 150 people, from coast to coast. To experience adaptation first hand, the authors met with farmers in Georgia, planners on Cape Cod, utility executives in Denver, volunteers in New Orleans, and a host of other Americans struggling to cope with the effects of climate change. They came back with compelling stories of ingenuity, resilience, and daunting challenges as people face the changes climate change is bringing to our land, communities, wildlife, and people. The road trippers have already published 34 stories about the work that communities are doing to prepare for climate change.

This report explores multiple community-level adaptation initiatives, and presents six key lessons learned from the Road Trip about how communities across the country are preparing for coming changes:

• Communities have many reasons for building resilience, and the co-benefits of climate adaptation projects are often key to getting them implemented.

• The likelihood and magnitude of the climate impact itself affects the nature of the resilience-building actions that can be taken.

• Scaled-down climate science is essential for local planning and decision-making in many sectors.

• New relationships and new partnerships across local governments and with private and nonprofit allies can leverage the key skills needed to adapt to a changing climate.

• Communities need new funding and financing models to enable the investment needed to adapt to climate change.

• Sometimes adaptation and mitigation goals will conflict; but often times communities can reduce emissions while preparing for impacts.

Additional stories from the Great American Adaptation Road Trip are captured on their blog: http://www.



Publication Date: January 2015

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Allie Goldstein
  • Kirsten Howard

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study

Go To Resource