In 2020, the effects of climate change could not have been clearer. We saw a haze of orange skies on the west coast caused by wildfires, an increase of natural habitat loss, a record breaking number of hurricanes in the South. On top of that, the global pandemic and global recession collided with peaking racial and social injustices to reveal deep inequities and systemic challenges worldwide.
In response, the content of discussion and framing of SSDN’s activities certainly changed. Yet our mission, vision, and core values remained the same. Our culture has always been focused on building trusted relationships, and those relationships have persevered in a time of disconnection and intense anxiety. As a result, our members continued to show up for the network and for each other. They continued to demonstrate impact in their communities despite insurmountable challenges. At SSDN, we continued to serve our members as a reliable source of information, trust, and connection.
SSDN also held virtual listening sessions and networking time with members to understand challenges and to inform how SSDN could pivot and help members find solutions. In response to member needs, SSDN:
- Increased programming and capacity for state policy work in five states, reaching over 75% of our members,
- Offered two equity capacity building trainings from experts that spanned six months and reached 50% of our members,
- Provided technical expertise related to green stormwater management, resilience hubs, electric vehicles, state energy policy, building codes, and more,
- Supported 6 peer learning workgroups and a peer cohort of 11 grantees through our Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund,
- Successfully engaged nearly 100% of our members at our first virtual Annual Meeting.
Our vision remains that local governments are continually integrating and institutionalizing sustainability best practices
throughout all towns, cities, and counties in the Southeast. Moving forward into 2021, we are hopeful that our vision will be realized.
NEW MEMBERS IN 2020
2020 MEMBER PRIORITIES
Climate Action Planning
Electric Vehicle Transition
Green Stormwater & Flood Mitigation
Resilient & Equitable Land Use Planning
Access to Clean Energy
2020 MEMBER SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
Are measuring GHG emissionsfor city/county operations
Adopted a GHG target forcity/county operations
Are measuring communityGHG emmissions
Adopted a communityGHG target
SSDN ACTIVITIES MEMBERS VALUED MOST IN 2020
DIRECT CONNECTIONS TO PEERS
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OR TRAININGS
In 2021, SSDN looks forward to continuing to support its members through continued adjustments and settling back into a new normal: one that is better than we left in 2020, and one that supports people and planet for the long term.
In 2021, SSDN will:
- Prioritize capacity building for members that centers equity into sustainability and resilience practices.
- Onboard cities and counties from Virginia into the network, with the merger of SSDN and the Virginia Energy & Sustainability Peer Network (VESPN).
- Develop a network-wide capacity building program focused on state policy and member engagement in energy and water issues at a broader level.
- Support new members to SSDN and those new to the field with mentorship and peer learning opportunities.
- Offer high quality virtual peer learning and expert-driven experiences that support members throughout the Southeast in their day-to-day sustainability work.
Thank you to our members, our 2020 funders (The Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, Energy Foundation, Roddenberry Foundation, Z Smith Reynolds Foundation, and Turner Foundation); to our fiscal sponsor, The Urban Sustainability Directors Network; and to our 2020 Steering Committee.