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Louisville Residents Brainstorm Climate Solutions

CLimate Adaptation plant

Inside a classroom at the University of Louisville on Thursday, students and faculty outlined their greatest concerns about how climate change affects the city.

Louisville’s Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability hosted the meeting to inform its climate adaptation plan, which will focus on preparing for and reducing the risks of climate change.

The meeting began with an in-depth depth analysis of the climate impacts facing the city. Among them, they discussed how warming temperatures which could rise by as much as 5 to 8 degrees on average by 2050, and 7 to 12 degrees by the century’s end.

"So if we don't get our act together we're up in that high zone," said Cara Pike, Climate Access executive director, a consultant hired by the city. "If we actually cut our emissions, we can start to manage the risks a little bit more."

Afterwards, it was up to each group to discuss the impacts they think are among the most critical to address. Engineering professor Suraj Alexander said he’s worried about the effects of extreme heat. Student Avalon Gupta VerWiebe said heatwaves and rising temperatures can cause upswings in violence.

Sydney Hancock, a senior liberal studies major, said she's concerned with the myriad health problems that climate change will exacerbate.

“All of this gives me so much anxiety,” said Hancock said.

Faculty member Justin Mog reassured her she’s in good company.

“I’ve been anxious since the 80s,” he said.

Finally, the groups reviewed a list of dozens of adaptive solutions the city is already considering in categories including health, emergency services, infrastructure, economics, culture and nature.

“Depaving has to be a priority. There is so much unnecessary pavement,” Mog said.

The city's final meeting is on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Northeast Regional Library, 15 Bellevoir Circle.

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.