Communities around the world are feeling the effects of climate change. Increasing temperatures around the world are warming oceans and melting ice sheets, changing the way animals are able to survive and causing flooding in vulnerable areas. Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, have been increasing, causing damage to coastal communities that are now forced to rebuild from scratch. Droughts have also become more common, with devastating wildfires and public drinking water emergencies becoming commonplace. As a result of these changes and more, the entire world is scrambling to adapt to a new way of living that requires extra planning and care surrounding how we get food and water, where we live, and what we use to power our lives. Adapting to climate change is now a necessity, but communities around the world are rising to the occasion. Here’s how they’re using renewable energy to work towards a greener future.
USF Sarasota-Manatee Climate Change Summit
The University of South Florida hosted a climate change summit in Sarasota, Fla. to educate residents about what climate change means for hurricanes, red tide effects, sea level rise, and more, and how these changes can impact their community. The summit focused on how climate change is specifically challenging in Florida and how various cities throughout the state are already adapting to the changes, which have cause them to reevaluate the way their infrastructure and coastal areas are organized. By taking a hard look at how they can adapt to climate change, these communities have invited new economic opportunities while also protecting their residents.
Working Together in London
In early 2010, London’s residents were asked to share ideas about how to combat climate change in an online forum. The still-active website resulted in 34 proposals designed to strengthen the city against climate change and prevent further damage. These include managing the risk of surface water flooding, increasing the amount of parks and vegetation throughout the city, and improving water and energy efficiency in more than 1 million homes in the city. Residents and government agencies alike have begun working to put the proposals in effect, taking immediate action to help combat climate change.
A Comprehensive Plan in Quito
The city of Quito, Ecuador has managed to successfully make climate change adaptation a focal point of the community’s development agenda. Its climate change strategy is the result of the Clima Latino, a regional climate change conference hosted in the city in 2009, as well as the desire to fight increased landslides, floods, and droughts in the area. Quito’s comprehensive climate change plan focuses on both mitigation and adaptation in ecosystems, drinking water, public health, infrastructure, and power production. So far, Quito has invested almost $350 million in municipal funds, international aid, and philanthropic funding to put the plan into action.
Community Action in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a country that has been particularly impacted by climate change. Much of the country’s land is located along river ways and the ocean, making it vulnerable to rising sea levels, flooding, and extreme weather events, such as cyclones. The country’s poverty level makes it difficult for residents to combat these effects of climate change. The Action Research on Community Adaptation in Bangladesh research program is designed to help communities successfully adapt their residents’ lifestyles to climate change. These include education for children, economic responses, and political impact. The evidence collected in this program will be used to help other communities understand the best ways to introduce climate change initiatives to their residents, making it easier to combat climate change around the world.
Joining the Climate Change Fight
By making lifestyle changes and encouraging members of your community to do the same, you can join people around the world in their efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. Something as small as bringing more vegetation into neighborhoods can absorb carbon dioxide from the air and lower the temperature, allowing families to begin making a difference right in their own backyards.
Using renewable energy resources such as wind or solar power for your electronics is one way to reduce dependence on oil and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Communities can install turbines and solar panels that are available to all members to make the switch to renewables easier. On an individual level, consider purchasing an electric car or biking, riding public transportation, or car sharing to reduce your personal environmental impact.
Finally, band together to change laws governing the pollution that companies are allowed to produce during their operations. Carbon taxes make polluting activities more expensive while greener solutions become more affordable, encouraging companies to change their practices. Encourage your community to adopt laws like these to reduce the effects of climate change worldwide.