"I CHANGE by preparing communities for severe weather and ensuring we ALL live in a Weather Ready Nation."

—Garry Harris, Founder and President, Center for sustainable Communities

I believe that I have been placed on this Earth for two things: 1) take care of people, and 2) take care of the air, water and land. I am an engineer from the energy field, but I always had a passion for community and people, especially youth and their proper development. I started the Center for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit, specially designed to make our communities greener, cleaner, healthier, safer and more climate resilient. In addition, I work to promote and advocate for policy and advocacy for climate protection measures. A few years ago, we had a terrible snow storm here in Atlanta that crippled and paralyzed our city. But on the evening of the snowstorm event I took to the streets to free stuck cars and buses, and generally care for the welfare of those who were stranded sometimes for more than 24 hours. After the event, I got community residents together with government leaders and elected officials to hold a summit on making our metro Atlanta region more resilient to climate change. We made more than 40 recommendations to the Mayor and Governor to correct identified deficiencies to help mitigate future severe weather impacts. We also began working very closely with NOAA in the Weather Ready Nation project.

These included several projects to mitigate climate impacts that included education and awareness, emergency management strategies, adaptation and mitigation strategies, field trips and tours to NOAA National Weather Service facilities. You can learn more about how we worked with local leaders and weather experts to prepare the Atlanta Region for Climate change here.

We worked with other agencies to create a community based initiative known as a "Rally for Climate Resilience" that attracted more than 200 hundred residents primarily from vulnerable communities. We worked with NOAA to expand this concept to nearly 100 cities around the country. We also helped Raytheon to design, develop and deploy a national K-12 training program on Building A Weather Ready Nation and you can learn more here.

We worked with the City of Atlanta on it application to become a 100 Resilient City by the Rockefeller Foundation. We have helped to organize several public marches and demonstration for climate including the People's Climate March. We have conducted several environmental education classes for youth on climate change and its effects. We have created the Advanced Atmospheric Research and Monitoring Station (AARMS) that will conduct Earth Science Laboratory experiments and climate modeling and analysis, We are also working with the NSF INCLUDES Program on an Earth Connections Programs – linking Earth Science including Climate to CommunitiesYou can learn more about AARMS here.

We have conducted many faith based initiatives in relation to climate including a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative for the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and extensive measures on energy efficiency and climate education for neighboring communities. You can learn about the partnership between CGI and the Church here.

And here’s a piece about churches going green you may find interesting.

We have worked to create ECO Districts that utilize climate, equity and resilience as foundational imperatives and to established large scale community solar and energy efficiency programs aimed at thousands of homes of low income residents. Our work includes forming the 1.5 Degree Patrol, a coalition of national and local organizations that help lead the charge on climate activism. We also helped to start the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy consumption in the commercial area. Today, it is one of the largest programs of its kind in the U.S.

I would love to connect with you to learn about what you are doing to address climate change and to provide more detail about the work I am doing. You can reach me via email at gharris@htsenterprise.com.

Learn about our work on facebook.

And visit our website at www.csc-atl.org.