By Jacob Miller, ND-GAIN Summer 2016 Intern

This post originally appeared the South Bend Tribune Opinions

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.

Over 300 urban influencers from 30 countries nestled into Barcelona’s Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau for the City of Barcelona and UN-HABITAT’s Barcelona Resilience Week. Together we broached all things urban; panels and presenters discussed and disseminated issues from the Zika virus, to rising sea levels, to the Syrian refugee crisis. This inspiring group of experts shared their successes and their failures, their city’s needs and wants, and a commitment to a more resilient future.

After spending three days in sunny San Diego at CCBJ’s Environmental Industry Summit, I suspect most attendees left with a strong commitment to their work and a sense of inspiration for the evolving environmental field. However, many also carried apprehension and uncertainty with them as the summit begged more questions than provided answers.

There is simply no way we will achieve the goal to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.