Last year, New Orleans experienced the most severe hurricane since Katrina. Residents lost electricity for at least two weeks, and some areas of the city are still out of power. Environmental researchers predict that the frequency of high category hurricanes will increase as the planet becomes warmer. Communities experiencing severe climate change effects are low-income and have more residents of color.
Relief and prevention professionals are targeting at-risk communities to reduce the effects of environmental racism. There are three ways professionals are supporting ecologically degraded regions and improving conservation efforts.
How is Climate Change Affecting Communities?
Before exploring the support methods, individuals must identify the common climate change effects within communities. Coastal regions are experiencing more flooding and frequent tropical storms because of rising global temperatures. Climate change creates warmer ocean water and rising sea levels.
As the ocean’s surface temperature increases, wind speeds become more intense. Warmer seawater also increases precipitation by nearly 15% during hurricanes. Flooding, building destruction, power outages, and water contamination all result from high-intensity storms.
Another effect of climate change is water displacement. As Earth becomes warmer, the evaporation rate increases. While evaporation increases precipitation in some regions, it leaves other areas in prolonged droughts.
Droughts can interfere with agricultural production and minimize local food supplies. They also increase the intensity and frequency of wildfires. When wildfires degrade vegetated areas, they minimize Earth’s ability to naturally filter surface-level greenhouse gas emissions.
Adding sustainable relief systems to at-risk communities can increase their resilience following storms. The systems also minimize future climate change effects.
1. Develop Solar Power Grids
Environmentalists are helping communities recover from climate-change-related disasters by installing solar-powered grids. Solar energy is more resilient during and after hurricanes. Panels are less outage-prone than fossil fuel electricity.
Solar power is also more affordable than conventional energy sources. Many individuals experience financial challenges after severe storms. Renewables help residents access affordable, low-emission electricity to support their relief practices.
Creating a clean electric grid also minimizes greenhouse gas emissions and prevents adverse climate change effects. Reducing energy-related pollution can lower a community’s risk of wildfires, hurricanes and droughts.
2. Install Reliable Communication Services
Another way disaster relief professionals support at-risk communities is by installing mobile communication services. Reliable communication channels can help residents report emergencies during and after a storm. Emergency response professionals in poor service regions have longer response times.
Government officials can also use reliable communication services to inform residents of high-category hurricanes or wildfires before they invade their community. They may use mobile message lines to send alerts and evacuation requests. Another resource for at-risk communities is permaculture farming.
3. Adopt Permaculture Farming Practices
As the intensity and longevity of droughts increase, farmers must adapt to changing conditions. Agricultural professionals can maintain high crop yields and support local consumption needs by engaging in permaculture farming. Unlike monoculture practices, permaculture farmers grow multiple crops in one field.
They equally give and take from their field, which prevents nutrient depletion. Agricultural professionals also rely on the ecosystem and Earth’s topography to support crop production. Many farmers place their gardens at the base of a hill to capture and use stormwater.
They also plant native and compatible crops in their fields. Placing light-intensive leafy plants over low-light crops supports different growth cycles without using synthetic additives. When individuals in disaster-prone regions rely on permaculture farming, they can maintain abundant food supplies.
The Benefits of Green Response Practices
Many climate change relief systems minimize adverse environmental impacts. Solar grid systems decrease energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, which prevents additional climate degradation. Permaculture farming decreases nutrient depletion and soil erosion.
Another benefit of the relief methods is their ecological support. Many sustainable systems are cost-effective and help residents access affordable energy, communication and food services. Individuals may continue utilizing low-cost services after disasters by establishing reliable systems.
Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.