LOS ANGELES, CA (February 16, 2012 ) —How is your city prepaing to deal with the impacts of climate change? That is the question being framed at 2012’s The Mediterranean City: A Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, to be held June 27 in Downtown Los Angeles. Leaders from the five Mediterranean regions of the world will come together to focus specifically on adaptation, which seeks to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to the effects climate change.
The conference will initiate an ongoing collaboration of Mediterranean cities working together to solve the mutual problem of adapting to an uncertain climate. In addition, the conference aims to create new and strengthen existing ties among the decision-makers, thought-leaders and academics, building bridges across disciplines.
“Our climate is changing and so it is more important than ever that cities work together around this common cause,” said Executive Director, Dr. Nancy Steele. “By coming together, conference participants will share resources and knowledge across regional and national boundaries to build effective solutions. We are excited to host this first ever convening of all the Mediterranean-climate regions around the world.”
Cities of the Future author Paul Brown will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Other invited speakers include: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, United State Representative Lois Capps, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Yarqon River Authority (Israel) Executive Director David Pargament, Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick, and many more.
On June 25 and 26, an invited group of regional experts will come together for The Mediterranean City Consortium. During this time, small working groups of invited scientists, planners, engineers, resource managers, and policy makers will work collaboratively toward sharing solutions and suggest collaborative steps forward. The pre-conference working group activities will heavily shape the agenda of the The Mediterranean City Conference, which will be open to the public and present a forum for the working groups to present their shared findings and ideas for the future.
Water: Resilient Water Management Strategies for a Changing Climate
Water is among the most basic of human needs and is necessary for economic vitality and food security. In the Mediterranean City, water is harnessed for consumption, industry, and waste management, while flood control systems seek to move water away from cities as efficiently as possible. Degradation of water quality occurs from urban practice and single purpose policy. As water scarcity increases with climate change, and as demand continues to outpace sustainable supplies, human and natural communities of the City and of the water-supply-shed are threatened at the most basic levels.
Energy: Transitioning to an Energy Efficient and Low Carbon Future
With a natural supply of abundant solar energy and the potential for tidal and off-shore wind and wave-to-energy power, the Mediterranean climate zones have great potential to harness renewable energy supplies. However, as urban populations in Mediterranean Cities continue to grow, renewable resource demand may outstrip renewable resource availability. Needs and costs of production must be better understood and affordable to move forward in producing green energy.
Biodiversity and Open Space: Building an Ecological City
Mediterranean ecosystems have nutrient−poor soils and are seasonally climate−limited, yet have evolved species−rich ecosystems with a great deal of endemism. Healthy ecosystems provide nature’s services to urban centers, cleaning air and water; providing spaces of beauty to refresh the soul and encourage recreation; producing food, fiber, and fuel; and mitigating natural disasters (e.g., drought and flood) while cleaning of polluted urban runoff.
The Built Environment: Designing Healthier Communities
In the face of rapid development and population growth, cities are under increasing threat of loss of functionality and ability to meet the needs to their residents. By redefining the built environment to require or incentivize green building design, ecologically-functional streets, transit-oriented communities, and open spaces, cities can become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. By becoming more compact, for example, cities can promote the preservation of regionally-unique habitats while also combating urban sprawl. Smart building and landscape designs can also effectively reduce the energy footprint of buildings while contributing to the overall energy portfolio of cities.
Public Health: Preparing People for Their Future
A healthy ecosystem – dependent on clean air and water, natural hydrogeologic processes, and biological diversity – nurtures a healthy human population, which in turn must respect and tend those resources through conservation. Human systems too must reorient towards healthier outcomes for natural and human populations through changed practices in sanitation, food provisioning, and ecosystem services management. Planning for greener cities that conserve these Mediterranean resources will also provide avenues for improving public health.
Governance: Rethinking Boundaries
Cities are now the engines of the world economy and social structure and must, therefore, work as a network across sectors and national boundaries to bring more resources and knowledge to building solutions. To bring resiliency to the city and to the network of information sharing, new forms of governance and public-private partnerships must be examined for their efficacy in supporting an open exchange and transfer of ideas and technology.
Conference Organizer: Council for Watershed Health: The Council for Watershed Health supports healthy watersheds for the region by serving as a robust center for the generation of objective research and analysis. The Council has established a platform for meaningful collaboration among governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses and other nonprofit organizations with a vested interest in clean water, reliable water supplies, ample parks and open spaces, revitalized rivers, and vibrant communities.
Founded in 1996 by leading environmental activist Dorothy Green and others, the Council produces continuing research programs that examine water usage and quality as well as create and enhance preservation and conservation tactics. The trustworthy expertise and analysis that comes from the Council’s ongoing programs connects a diverse set of groups with overlapping missions in an effort to drive polices that will continually improve watershed quality.
The Mediterranean City Conference on Climate Change Adaptation is made possible thanks to the support CDM SMITH, the Department of Energy, the City of Los Angeles, The Nature Conservancy, UCLA, the Long Beach Water Department and more than 20 endorsing organizations.
For more information and to register to attend the conference, please visit the event website at www.medcityconference.org.