Words are confusing, often wrought with varying connotations and intangible ideas. But no matter what they’re called, floods and droughts are concrete events, which can be fought with concrete action. The New York Times article, “In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’” by Hiroko Tabuchi depicts a world in which the mention of climate change draws contention, but the undoubtedly changing weather is commonly accepted. Farmers rely on the land, live by the weather and feel their lives changing along with it.
COP22 was the conference of action. It’s time to implement the Paris Agreement. Amidst the first week of this international meeting of climate action leaders, the United States elected Donald Trump as president. The grim mood that consequently settled on the conference in Marrakech, Morocco did not eliminate the hopeful determination of the climate leaders.
One of the themes of COP22 was urban adaptation. As risks and vulnerability are specific to each city, with its own set of social, environmental and economic factors, enabling local leaders to implement climate adaptation is imperative. The Paris Climate Agreement calls for developed nations to contribute to an international fund for climate adaptation in developing nations. While some may understand this as a crucial humanitarian action, it can also be viewed as a strategic economic plan.
The dramatic floods in West Virginia and the recent wildfires in California provide a reminder that climate change can bring sudden and catastrophic hardships to communities. To some degree, the extent of the hardships imposed is a result of the level of preparedness of a community to its climate vulnerability. We refer to this as adaption.
Q&A by Entrepreneurial Adaptation Prize Winner, Janaee Wallace.
Part of the McCloskey Business Plan Competition
What is SIREN?
SIREN stands for STEM Innovations through Research and Entrepreneurship Now. It is a dream that I have that led me to the ESTEEM program. SIREN is my long-term goal to develop an accelerator and angel investment firm that focuses primarily on tech businesses throughout the Caribbean. SeaFresh Foods, my entrepreneurial venture is my personal venture that I hope to be the first business that SIREN develops. The ESTEEM program aims at commercializing technology and that is what I want SIREN to do. Using the business acumen I developed over the past year at the ESTEEM program I formulated a launch strategy for SeaFresh Foods, hoping that the success of this business would set a precedent for SIREN, and for individuals of Caribbean decent who would want to work with SIREN.
“Interest in climate adaptation?” I received an email with this subject line in the summer of 2013 from Managing Director Joyce Coffee. Though I considered myself literate in climate change issues at the time, I had to look up exactly what climate adaptation meant. Three years later, I am wrapping up my time as an intern at ND-GAIN and I consider myself lucky. It’s a rarity for college students to stay with one organization for more than a year or two. It’s even rarer to get experience in a specialized and quickly growing field before graduation. But that is what I’ve accomplished through ND-GAIN and it’s what I see happening now as more and more interns are added to the team.