Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mediterranean cities adapt to climate change

Annemarie Donkin the Topanga Messenger: ...The community of Topanga and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains are biologically rich with large areas of grassland, chaparral, oak woodland, willow riparian, scrub oak woodlands and geologic volcanic rock outcrops.

Yet Mediterranean climates like ours are limited to just a few small areas on the planet: Southern California to northern Baja California; central Chile; the cape region of South Africa, southwestern Australia and the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

...But what if Topanga and its surrounding climates reach the tipping point of more hot days that increase the threat of floods and wildfires and decrease the snowpack, our main source of water? Scientists worldwide have clearly established links between climate change and more frequent and severe weather events such as larger storms, increased flooding, more and increasingly intense wildfires, longer droughts and sustained water shortages.

To discuss effective adaptation policies, “The Mediterranean City: A Conference on Climate Change Adaptation,” brought together an impressive network of more than 200 experts from academic, policy, business, public health and government sectors to the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, from June 25-27, to offer more resources and knowledge to build long-term solutions.

“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time,” said Nancy Steele, Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health, who sponsored the conference. “Earth has seen this before, we have not; how we adapt determines us as a species.”

...Steele said that those strategies, especially in the Mediterranean cities that house 80 percent of the world’s population, will affect everything including water, energy, biodiversity, open space, public health, governance and built environments....

Topanga, California, during some 2005 wildfires, shot by Nerval, public domain

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