The Suncoast’s local weather problems will not go away. Let’s address them

The Florida Suncoast has climate-induced impacts and disturbances that worsen over time. We live :

• The sea level rises.

• Hurricanes and related storm surges more intense than ever.

• Increased flooding.

• More occurrences of red tide.

• Less biodiversity.

• Greater impacts on human health.

These are real threats to our region. Rather than ignore them, we need to find ways to mitigate them – and take advantage of the opportunities they present for our growing climate economy.

The Climate Adaptation Center Inc. is Southwest Florida’s only nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to our state’s unique climate challenges in our increasingly warm world. The center’s mission is to educate and inform decision-makers in government, private sector and academia – and to work with these sectors to find effective solutions to reduce the risk of climate-induced or climate-enhanced disruptions.

Led by a group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, the center helps facilitate and accelerate regional actions that are cost-effective, timely, and capable of driving economic growth. He makes an impact by predicting hurricanes and protecting the region, while working with engineers to stabilize beach erosion and much more.

A family visiting Sarasota from Pennsylvania skirts dead fish as they walk through the surf just west of Siesta Public Beach.  The Suncoast often had to deal with the effects of the red tide.

In short, the Climate Adaptation Center has provided the community with support and results that lead to adaptation and mitigation. Over the past two years, for example, the Climate Adaptation Center has hosted conferences bringing together nearly 30 experts who have shared their expertise with the Suncoast region.

Last year’s conference featured Florida’s first-ever climate weather forecast for 2030, 2040, and 2050 — and offered an informed discussion about how we can help our communities adapt to the new normal.

Here are some things we can do:

• Use existing technology to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient.

• Elevate our roads in critical areas to ensure resilience and to provide safe escape routes from sensitive areas such as barrier islands.

• Update and upgrade building codes so our structures can withstand storms.

• Design our beaches to protect the coastline from high tides and storm surges; indeed, scientists at the Climate Adaptation Center are already involved in a shoreline project at the north end of Longboat Key.

Meanwhile, companies can work to expand their service offerings to include products or processes that can reduce the effects of climate change. And students can use their knowledge for the noble purpose of creating entrepreneurial solutions to help protect our way of life in Florida and beyond.

In the past five hurricane seasons, there have been more than 100 named storms. This set an all-time high, and the Climate Adaptation Center Inc.’s 2022 hurricane season forecast calls for 22 more storms, five of which could be Category 3-5 major storms. That’s why we should all join in the effort to find ways to solve our local climate problems.

For more details visit www.theclimateadaptationcenter.org

Bob Bunting is the CEO of the Sarasota-based Climate Adaptation Center, Inc.

Teresa H. Sadler