Community Resilience through Green Infrastructure in Volusia County, Florida
In a partnership with the Green Volusia Program, CEJ was awarded a grant from the Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund, which is an attempt to accelerate the adoption of sustainable best practices in Southeast communities. These practices include: mitigating and/or adapting to climate change; fostering equity and inclusiveness; leveraging community partnerships; strengthening local government commitment; and demonstrating innovation and scalable solutions.
“With this grant, we are able to provide additional scholarship opportunities for our students,” said Leticia M. Diaz, Ph.D., J.D., dean and professor of law, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. "Our commitment to environmental resilience is a great example of how Barry University can help make a positive impact in our community.”
Margaret R. Stewart, CEJ’s Director, noted the funding will help the Center “promote law and policy that protects the integrity and resilience of the entire Earth community.”
“This grant will strengthen our regional partnerships and support the creation of additional educational opportunities for Barry students,” Stewart added.
In Volusia County, the Spring Hill community suffers from catastrophic inland flooding during heavy rain and storm events. These environmental challenges lead to health challenges, as Spring Hill residents constantly deal with storm water pollution and mold. This project will address these challenges through implementation of large-scale green infrastructure projects, community education, job training and placement, and local business development. These activities will equip Spring Hill residents to be more adaptive to climate change and economically resilient.
These efforts will culminate in the creation of a Spring Hill resiliency team that will enable the community to have a more effective voice on issues of climate adaptation. This grant will fund a project that plans “with” and not “for” the community and will provide stipends, meals and childcare to families that participate in the academies.
The goals of this project are: (1) to facilitate an active and knowledgeable citizen team that will raise sustainability issues with local governments; (2) to utilize GI to decrease storm water pollution and flooding; and (3) to provide job training and placement in the landscaping field. This initiative ultimately will demonstrate proof of concept for the use of educational resiliency academies to promote GI projects as an adaptive approach to flooding and to improve community resilience and health.
After the conclusion of this grant, CEJ will incorporate the resulting curriculum in the Earth Jurisprudence and Environmental Justice programs conducted at Barry University Law School in Orlando, Florida. CEJ will also engage other universities and offer guidance on incorporating the curriculum into existing collegiate programs throughout Florida.
Check back for updates as this program develops.