By Margaret Keener and Jessie Straub
Jessie Straub is a graduate student in the UNC Department of Marine Sciences.
We both had the opportunity to work with Christian Kamrath and fellow graduate student members of the Carolina Hazards and Resilience Planners (CHRP) student group to co-organize the 2018 UNC Climate Change and Resilience Symposium on April 20, 2018.
This year’s symposium was a unique event in that it combined the 5th annual UNC Climate Change Symposium led by faculty members of the Carolina Climate Change Scientists and the 2nd annual Resilience Symposium organized by CHRP. The symposium was also supported by the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, Institute for the Environment, and the Carolina Seminars Program.
The symposium served as a venue for students to present their research, facilitate discussions around climate change and resilience, and connect those across the university involved in climate change and resilience work.
The symposium included a keynote speaker, two expert panels on climate change communication and rural disaster recovery and Hurricane Matthew, and a poster competition highlighting climate related student and faculty research across the University. Leading practitioners, researchers, students, local government representatives, and community organizers came together for a rich discussion about climate change, hazards, and resilience.
Keynote Speaker: Susan White
Susan White, Executive Director of North Carolina Sea Grant, North Carolina Space Grantand the Water Resources Research Institute gave the keynote address. She discussed the importance of building resiliency through bridging science and society. White highlighted the interdisciplinarity of climate change adaptation, regional key risks and potential risk reductions, as well as the national and North Carolina Sea Grant Program.
Climate Change Communication
The Climate Change Communication panelists included John Bruno, professor of Biology at UNC-Chapel Hill; Linda Rimer, Liaison for State & Community Resilience for the U.S. EPA; David Salvesen, director of the Sustainable Triangle Field Site with the UNC Institute for the Environment; and Ashley Ward, Climate Integration and Outreach Associate for Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments and UNC Department of Geography. The panelists discussed how to communicate climate science to different audiences through various methods, the role scientists play in climate communication, and translating scientific results to the public.
Rural Disaster Recovery and Hurricane Matthew
The Rural Disaster Recovery and Hurricane Matthew panelists were Larry Engel, professor in the UNC Department of Epidemiology; Chuck Flink, professor in Landscape Architecture at NC State University; Linda Joyner, Mayor Pro Tem of Princeville, N.C.; and Naeema Muhammad, organizing co-director of North Carolina Environmental Justice Network. The panel focused on communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, discussing the challenges faced by small towns and rural areas in recovering from Matthew, and differing experiences and resources available across North Carolina with disaster recovery.
Student Poster Session
Additionally, undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and faculty performing research on hazards, resilience, and climate change presented their work through a poster competition. A panel of diverse judges selected winners. Environmental Sciences & Engineering graduate student Omar Nawaz took first place for his work on health benefits of decreases in PM2.5 and the ozone in the United States from 1990-2016. Marine Sciences graduate student Molly Bost took second place for her work on the timescale of storm bed preservation in estuarine middle bay environments from Hurricane Matthew New River, NC. Bailey Thomasson won the award for best undergraduate poster for her work on examining the interactive effects of ocean warming and acidification on the skeletal morphology of two Caribbean reef-building corals.
We are excited about the success of this year’s event and look forward to enhancing the event next year and fostering a climate change and resilience community in the Triangle through collaboration among UNC, Duke, and NC State.