The emphasis will be on adaptation, resilience and opportunity when St. Petersburg College hosts a two-day conference on climate and sea level rise next month. The conference, titled [Sea Level] Rise Up: Realities & Opportunities, will be April 5 and 6 at the Conference Center at the SPC Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. North.
Presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and the Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative, the conference will interpret the recent National Climate Assessment findings for Tampa Bay communities and assess actions planned or already in progress by local governments and businesses to turn the impacts of climate change into opportunities for economic growth. It also will highlight action steps for individuals and policymakers to mitigate or adapt to climate change impacts and to capitalize on opportunities created by a blue-green economy.
The conference’s first day will focus on actions undertaken by local government and businesses plus a look at how the media is furthering climate awareness. On the second day, sessions will address real estate values, mortgages and insurance, and ways individuals can become civically engaged in the climate conversation.
Kicking off the conference will be Doug Marcy, Coastal Hazards Specialist for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Charleston, S.C. Marcy, a co-author for the Southeast Chapter of the 4th National Climate Assessment, works on flooding and sea level rise geospatial mapping projects, storm surge assessments, and coastal hazards assessment projects contributing to more disaster-resilient communities. The 4th National Climate Assessment, just released in January, summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It was produced by a team of more than 300 experts, guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee, and was extensively reviewed by federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
Other featured speakers include Dr. Michael D. McDonald, architect of Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks and coordinator of the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative, and Dr. Joanna Huxster, Environmental Studies Professor at Eckerd College, who has spoken extensively on “Communicating Beyond the Choir,” and Maya Burke, Science Policy Coordinator, Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
Program panelists during the conference include: Denise Drews, Loan Officer, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc.; Kelli Hammer Levy, Environmental Management Division Director, Pinellas County; Erica Harris, Climate Adaptation Specialist, AECOM; Jake Holehouse, H.H. Insurance; Mayor Al Johnson, St. Pete Beach; Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times; CJ Reynolds, Director of Resiliency and Engagement, Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council; Mike Twitty, Property Appraiser, Pinellas County; Lisa Vanover, The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area; and Sharon Wright, Sustainability & Resiliency Director, City of St. Petersburg.
The Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative is a group of concerned citizens and environmental professionals committed to educating the public about the challenges and opportunities created by global warming. It emerged from the Institute's 2015 conference called Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move? Since then, the collaborative has presented a series of documentary films and community discussions that highlight such environmental conditions as melting polar icecaps, plastic pollution of the oceans, dying coral reefs, and threats to fresh water resources,
The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 5 and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 6. Advance registration is required at solutions.spcollege.edu. Cost is $20 for both days, $15 for first day only, or $10 for second day only. The program is free for students and anyone is welcome to request attendance free of charge. Conference media partners are WEDU and the Tampa Bay Times. For further information, visit the website or phone 727-394-6942 or 727-394-6251.