Demonstrating Climate Change

Teachers might say that it’s one thing to tell students information in a lecture format. But it's another to expect them to understand and retain that information. Many students can better do this if teachers can show or demonstrate the information to them as well. Some folks call it active learning.

That thinking is what prompted the creation of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Vice-President Joe Biden unveiled the toolkit before a task force of governors, mayors, tribal leaders and other government officials in November 2014. Those leaders were looking for actionable information about how state and local governments could adapt to climate change.

In other words, it’s one thing to say, “A two-inch rise in sea levels will flood several miles of coastline.” It's another to actually show where the flooding would occur and how devastating it would be. The threat of sea level rise and how to adapt to it is much more clearly understood if the effects are visualized.

The Climate Program Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. Content is contributed by multiple federal agencies. The website was built in response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order to help the nation prepare for climate-related changes and impacts. Those impacts include higher temperatures, more frequent and intense droughts, extreme weather events, flooding and sea level rise.

The website offers information and data-driven tools to help state and local officials make decisions about how to best prepare for the impacts of climate change. Perhaps equally as important, the toolkit allows the public to learn more about climate change risks as well as opportunities. And all of that information is presented in plain language with easy-to-use tools. 

Since its unveiling in 2014, the toolkit has been expanded to include human health, coastal flood risk, food resilience, ecosystem vulnerability and water resource risks. 

— Frank Graff

Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!

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