Congratulations are in order for Kristin Baja, a Climate and Resilience Planner at Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability. Baja and ten others will be honored as White House Champions of Change for Climate Equity. Baja is being recognized for her work in implementing climate change resiliency programs for Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities. The White House event will be live streamed on Friday, July 15, at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Since joining the Office of Sustainability in 2012, Baja has been busy. She was the lead on crafting Baltimore’s heavy-duty Disaster Preparedness Plan. A must-read for every Baltimorean, the plan’s intent is to help Baltimore better prepare for climate change. City government is planning 50 strategies with 231 actions. A key strategy is to ensure that Baltimore’s drinking water and electricity systems can withstand extreme weather events.
Baja also developed the unique Build a Kit, Make a Plan program. Helping citizens from all neighborhoods better prepare for disaster events, the program spells out how to build an emergency kit.
As Baltimore’s floodplain manager (did I mention that she’s been busy?), Baja’s leadership is a key reason that Baltimore was recently awarded FEMA’s highest Class 5 flood preparedness rating. Baltimore is the largest East Coast city to have earned the Class 5 rating. The higher rating means 3,000 Baltimore residents and business owners are doing the happy-dance because their flood insurance premiums dropped by as much as 25 percent.
Kristin Baja adds, “You don’t have to be a climate scientist or city planner to create a more sustainable and resilient city. Everyone has a story to tell about how they’re making Baltimore a stronger, fairer and safer place. Share your story in our Every Story Counts campaign. Then the whole city can see how we’re making a difference together.”
It’s important that Baltimore has Kristin Baja. If you read the Disaster Preparedness Plan, Baltimore is expected to be significantly warmer and wetter. Seems like a good time to start building your own disaster kit.