Multisolving is by nature a complex process. Here are five important elements to keep in mind.
Any effort that mitigates climate change while providing other benefits, like bike paths that reduce emissions from cars and encourage physical activity, is an example of multisolving. We are encouraging policymakers and communities to multisolve for a variety of reasons, but effective multisolving won’t occur without planning and effort. As we are learning in our work with cities across the United States, implementing policies for both long-term environmental benefits and immediate human benefits is a complex and multifaceted process. In an effort to make that process simpler, we have distilled it into a short checklist of five things to remember while you are multisolving. We hope it makes your life as a multisolver easier and your efforts more powerful:
Share power and resources with communities. Policies must fit community needs to be effective, and communities often house critical knowledge needed for a project’s success. Community empowerment is also a way to build lasting change.
Design equity into benefit distribution. Projects to increase sustainability and resilience may reduce inequity, but usually that is the result of intentional design and policy choices, not something that ‘just happens.’
Include a wide circle of collaborators. Multisolving is not just about multiple benefits; it also requires input from multiple perspectives. Multisolving requires leaders in different fields with different skills and networks to come together to find solutions that no one individual could have discovered or implemented alone.
Reframe to optimize for many goals. With many urgent challenges confronting communities and tight budgets to handle them, finding solutions that make progress on several fronts will save money and effort in both the short and long term. Also, focusing on making progress toward one goal alone may cause missed opportunities to make a difference in multiple aspects of people’s lives.
Track co-benefits and carbon. Co-benefits often arise more quickly than climate benefits and are more tangible for people. To help your community understand the impact of their efforts, be sure to establish a baseline for factors like jobs, health, and air quality as well as for greenhouse gas emissions, and track changes in both carbon and community benefits over time.
For more resources and examples of multisolving, go to our multisolving portal. For questions, or if you think we can help your community multisolve, contact us at multisolving(at)climateinteractive.org.