Interview with Michael Boldosser with the County’s Climate Team

January 17, 2022
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Q: What position do you hold in the Climate Team? 

I work with the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) where I serve as an Emergency Management Specialist II. With regard to the Climate team, I am a team member, no special position.

The Climate Team is working to help the County implement its Climate Plan. The Climate Action Plan is Montgomery County’s strategic plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. The Climate Action Plan details the effects of a changing climate on Montgomery County and includes strategies to reduce GHG emissions and climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses, and the built and natural environment.

Q. As someone who oversees the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, how have you reduced the impacts of natural hazards the County might be exposed to? In other words, what have you done to address these safety concerns?

I am by no means an overseer of OEMHS.  I am a member of the Planning Section.  One of my main responsibilities is the County’s Hazard Mitigation Program.  I revise the plan every five years, as required by FEMA, and meet with local jurisdiction leaders to hear their main concerns regarding natural hazards.  That then translates into possible FEMA grants to mitigate some of those hazards. The current revision that is about to start will include, for the first time, climate change as a recognized hazard. Another way has been to push for people to buy flood insurance.  Flooding can happen almost anywhere, as was demonstrated on September 1, 2021 with a very localized and heavy precipitation event. Several homes were severely damaged by streets flooding into their property.  Nobody had flood insurance and homeowners’ insurance will not cover it.

Q. How has Montgomery County recently tackled climate change?

The publication of the County’s Climate Action Plan is a huge step in the right direction.  Too many jurisdictions do not even recognize Climate Change as real, much less do anything about it.  Montgomery County is very proactive in their approach and quite ambitious in their goals and objectives.

Q. How do you suggest teens participate more in climate action?

VOTE!!!!  If you are too young to vote, advocate for those who are like minded.  Do your part to reduce your own carbon footprint.  Don’t be too over zealous with your parents about it, but do set a good example for them to follow.  Some of us old folks can still change our ways!

Q. What has been the best part of working on the Climate Team?  

Being inspired by the passion that many members of the team have.

You can read about other members of the Climate Team on the My Green Montgomery website

Q. Are there any climate action projects you are looking forward to seeing implemented soon?

Planting more trees!

Tree Montgomery is a FREE program to plant shade trees across Montgomery County, Maryland. Our goal is simple – to plant shade trees and increase the tree canopy to provide a wide array of benefits for you, your community, and the County. Tree Montgomery is a program of Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.

Q. How have you been able to involve the community in your work? 

Not much, other than with the Hazard Mitigation Plan outreach.

From the Executive Summary: “Hazard mitigation is commonly defined as sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects. A hazard mitigation plan states the aspirations and specific courses of action that a community intends to follow to reduce vulnerability and exposure to future hazard events. The intention of this Plan update is to serve as a blueprint for coordinating and implementing hazard mitigation policies, programs, and projects. It provides a list of mitigation goals, objectives, and related actions that may assist Montgomery County in reducing risk and preventing loss from future natural hazard events. The impacts of hazards can be lessened and sometimes avoided altogether if appropriate actions are taken before hazardous events occur. By avoiding unnecessary exposure to known hazard risks, communities will save lives and property and minimize the social, economic, and environmental disruptions that commonly follow hazard events. Montgomery County and its municipalities agree that hazard mitigation makes sense. Through the identification of vulnerable areas and the implementation of measures aimed at minimizing exposure, the negative impacts of natural hazards may be reduced for Montgomery County.”

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