Looking for Greener Futures

Many city leaders are undertaking projects which will help their cities. Georgetown Climate Center released a comprehensive study, “How Prepared Are U.S. States for Climate Change?”
Their online tool enables users to see what cities and states are doing to prepare for climate change.
According to an article on ecori.org, “Climate scientists have told Chicago officials that their city will feel more like New Orleans by 2050. To prepare, the city has started planting sweet gums, swamp oaks and other heat-tolerant trees instead of white oak, the state tree of Illinois.”
Meanwhile, the article says that the folks in Providence aren’t focused on a specific species of tree, but rather a variety of trees to plant, “a diverse mix to create an urban forest that is resilient.” The Providence Neighborhood Planting Program will plant 271 trees representing 35 different species according to the article.
Colorado’s governor called for a state plan which was completed in 2011. The plan “calls for exploring messaging techniques to communicate with the public about climate change. The Colorado Foundation for Water Education maintains a Climate and Drought website, has produced a Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Climate Change app, and sponsors a Climate & Colorado’s Water Future Tour. These resources include tips for the public to conserve water and reduce wildfire risk. Another goal called for active state participation in the federal Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers. The Colorado Water Conservation Board serves on the steering committee for the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative.” Thus far, seven of the 72 goals have been completed and 34 out of the 72 are in progress.
Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist established an action team on energy and climate change in 2007. “The executive order directed that the preparation of the action plan be ‘guided by an evaluation of the possible consequences to Florida’s energy, economy, and society from global climate change,’ and that it occur in two phases. Phase I focused primarily on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while Phase II focused on long-term strategies related to reducing climate impacts to society, public health, the economy, and the natural environment, and on developing industry and the economy to help combat climate change.” The final plan included strategies for improving “Florida’s resilience to the anticipated impact of climate change.” The plan raised the issues related to climate change such as temperature changes, precipitation changes, sea-level rise and extreme weather and named goals related to those such as research needs, comprehensive planning, ecosystems and biodiversity, water resources, the built environment and infrastructure, the economy, emergency preparedness, human health and social effects and much more.
According to the Georgetown Climate Center’s study, the Houston Galveston Area Council made recommendations to adopt and implement a water conservation plan, utilize tree plantings and green roofs for shading, energy conservation and stormwater detention. They also suggested hurricane resistant building standards as the minimum building code standard for new construction in high risk areas, and preserving wetland and riparian zones which provide natural flood protection among their recommendations.
Less than 30 percent of our states have plans. Of those, almost all are located along our coasts. Some cities have adopted plans in states that have none. If you would like to know what your state or city is doing, visit Georgetown’s Climate Center site at www.georgetownclimate.org.

Story by Jennifer taylor

For more information, visit:
Georgetown Climate Center, www.georgetownclimate.org
Colorado’s Climate and Drought site,
Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative, revampclimate.colostate.edu