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  4. DHS Celebrates Earth Day

DHS Celebrates Earth Day

Release Date: April 22, 2024

Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is celebrating the 54th anniversary of Earth Day alongside its federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal partners. We stand at a time where climate change and natural disasters pose significant threats to communities and infrastructure, making them vulnerable to disruption.

DHS is taking concrete actions to increase climate resilience, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of climate change and severe weather. To highlight just a few of many examples:

  • FEMA’s Building Resilience Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program supports states, local communities, tribes, and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects such as flood control and critical infrastructure protection to reduce risks from future disasters. The response for this program has been momentous. For this current grant cycle, FEMA received 803 applications, totaling more than $4.6 billion from 55 states, territories and the District of Columbia. FEMA also received requests from 37 tribal nations. 
  • The 2023 update to the National Risk Index allows for communities to understand today’s natural hazard risk enabling local community planners to model and assess future risk, identify potential adaptation and mitigation measures including nature-based solutions, and assess the estimated benefits from those targeted projects.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is leading climate resilience efforts in the Arctic through the execution of its Climate Framework and Arctic Strategic Outlook Implementation Plan. Climate change poses multifaceted security risks in the Arctic and elsewhere, including the displacement of populations, resource scarcity, and geographical instability. 
  • CBP issued extreme heat guidance and heat stress kits to lessen the extreme heat effects experienced by the DHS workforce and by irregular migrants. This guidance allows additional time for better emergency response and may ultimately save lives. 

DHS is a department of partnerships.  Our ability to confront and respond effectively to environmental crises rely on several collaborations. On February 9th, the department marked the 1st anniversary of its membership in the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This partnership has been and continues to be critical to further DHS’s understanding of climate science and data, while providing a gateway to tools and resources to help manage risks and respond to changing environmental conditions. Additionally, DHS remains committed to its partnership with the General Services Administration to increase DHS facility sustainability while reducing emissions and bolstering resilience efforts. These collaborations, and many others, not only enhances emergency response capabilities but also promotes resilience-building strategies that mitigate the impact of environmental threats.

As DHS commemorates the modern environmental movement that began 54 years ago, we continue to lead the charge in environmental stewardship. Through a climate informed workforce and critical partnerships and programs, we propel this movement forward. This year’s Earth Day theme, “Planet vs. Plastics,” mirrors DHS’s commitment to sustainability and to reducing emissions, energy, water use, and waste.  Our efforts include innovative recycling programs by DHS components that go beyond plastics, to include aerosols, ethanol, and brass; government-leading decarbonization investments; and pursuit of nature-based solutions. Not only is DHS supporting communities, but we are also making our own mission operations and infrastructure more sustainable, resilient, and protected against any future climate threats.

Earth Day serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness between protecting the environment and safeguarding our nation. It is a matter of national security, and DHS plays a pivotal role in addressing the challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters. To learn more about the Department’s recent climate actions, please visit our climate webpage that includes a listing of many of the high impact actions to impact the public.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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