When developing the "2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment," the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs wanted to incorporate input from a cross-section of stakeholders across Massachusetts, with a priority on climate and environmental justice communities and socially vulnerable communities.
ERG led the statewide process to engage Massachusetts communities across the Commonwealth in developing a fuller picture of the climate impacts and how they are affecting communities at greater risk. ERG worked closely with EEA to identify and select community liaisons from a representative cross-section of community-based organizations, regional planning agencies, climate and EJ communities, and socially vulnerable communities across Massachusetts. Our team worked with each liaison to develop and implement a plan to engage stakeholders in their community. To this end, we solicited liaison input on how we could most effectively elicit community input during a planned series of public meetings on climate-related topics, including climate impacts experienced or observed in their communities. The liaisons also supported outreach for the meetings and project by issuing invitations and social media posts in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese (the six most spoken languages in Massachusetts). In addition, to further ensure the inclusion of vulnerable communities that did not attend the public meetings, we conducted focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and a survey. This included a Spanish language focus group that ERG organized and facilitated and the design and implementation of a survey in ten languages, which gathered a total of 443 responses, representing 158 towns and cities across Massachusetts, including 90 with EJ populations. Following conclusion of the engagement process, ERG developed a report documenting stakeholder input, and EEA then incorporated that input into the 2022 Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment.