Multisolving in the news – March 2022

March was a busy month for multisolving, with our work showing up in multiple op-eds written by Multisolving Institute Director, Dr. Elizabeth Sawin, as well as an interview conducted by Matt Simon of Wired. Explore below for more information.

Op-ed: We must adapt to climate change. Can we do it in ways that solve other problems too?

Image Credit: Green space in Baltimore, MD; Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr

The need to adapt to the climate change we can’t prevent can feel like one more emergency,” writes Dr. Sawin in a new op-ed published by the Daily Climate, “one more drain on already-scarce resources. And to some extent this is true. Climate change adaptation will take hard work and real spending.”

“But with creativity and cooperation,” Sawin continues, “some of that adaptation effort can provide other benefits at the same time. That’s an approach called “multisolving,” and many climate change adaptation strategies are multisolving superstars.”

Op-ed: Six ways states could help cities and towns implement climate solutions

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

In a new op-ed for American City and County, Dr. Sawin outlines six strategies states can employ to uplift multisolving in local communities. “Cities, towns and regions are creating jobs, improving health and making communities more livable. Many of them are doing so as part of their strategy to address climate change. This is an approach called “multisolving,” and examples of it are becoming more common,” she writes.

However, “[d]espite its promise, cities, regions and utilities face obstacles in tapping the power of multisolving. Fortunately, state governments can help.”

Interview: Cities are unlikely yet powerful weapons to fight climate change

Dr. Sawin is quoted in this piece from Wired reporter Matt Simon which looks at the implications of the recent IPCC report for cities and equity.

Image Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Op-ed: "Climate paralysis? Try multisolving" in Resilience Matters: Opportunities for Action to Strengthen Communities

Originally published in Nation of Change, this article by Dr.Sawin is included in a new e-book, Resilience Matters: Opportunities for Action to Strengthen Communities as part of the Island Press Urban Resilience Project.

“There’s an approach called “multisolving” that can move us from paralysis to action” Dr. Sawin writes. “Here’s the gist: because climate change is connected to so many other crises, climate action can have benefits for health, prosperity, and equity. Understanding this, we can build new alliances for positive action.”

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That opened a new front of research at Climate Interactive: what else would improve around the world if countries truly transitioned away from fossil fuels? From improvements in air quality to energy security we documented many co-benefits of climate action, and incorporated some of them into Climate Interactive’s well known computer simulation, En-ROADS.

But, the multiple benefits of actions to protect the climate remain mostly theoretical without ways of overcoming the obstacles to multisolving. That’s why, from the beginning of our work we have collaborated with others to understand the bright spots of multisolving around the world and to pilot multisolving approaches. First in Milwaukee in partnership with the Milwuakee Metropolitan Sewerage District and then in Atlanta, with Partnership for Southern Equity, we began to see what was possible by bringing the different parts of a system together in pursuit of actions and investments that lifted up many goals at once.

From this action research, along with a series of case studies of multisolving projects, we began to see attitudes and approaches that are in common across a wide diversity of multisolving projects, a topic we wrote about in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Then came 2020. Pandemic. Escalating climate change impacts. Dire warnings about biodiversity loss. And more and more folks connecting the dots between each of these issues and structural inequity. Invitations to write, speak, and teach about multisolving came fast and furious and with it the possibility that what we’ve learned from multisolving bright spots could help support leaders around the world to respond to crises with multisolving. That spark led to the launch of the Multisolving Institute and our mission of supporting leaders as they pursue multisolving approaches