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[Sea Level] Rise Up: Realities & Opportunities

April 5, 2019 @ 8:00 am - April 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

Free – $20

What does the recent National Climate Assessment mean for Tampa Bay communities? This two-day conference will lay out the challenges ahead and already arising.

  • Friday will focus on actions planned or already initiated by local governments and business plus a look at how the media is furthering climate awareness.

  • Saturday sessions will address real estate values, insurance, mortgages and how individuals can become civically engaged in the climate conversation.

Annual Events & Conferences
Dedicated to advancing academic excellence, community engagement, civics literacy and public understanding through strategic partnerships and solutions-directed programs.

Upcoming Annual Events & Conferences

04/05/2019 – 04/06/2019
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
[Sea Level] Rise Up: Realities & Opportunities 
SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, Seminole FL

The coordinator of the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative and an Eckerd College expert on the mind’s processing of climate science will be among featured speakers at a two-day conference on climate change and sea level rise taking place April 5 – 6 at St. Petersburg College.

[Sea Level] Rise Up: Realities & Opportunities will be held at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. Presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and the Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative, the conference will emphasize adaptation, resilience and opportunity as it assesses actions planned or already in progress by local governments and businesses to turn the impacts of climate change into positive economic growth.

Dr. Michael D. McDonald will deliver a noon address titled, “Tampa Bay’s Blue-Green Economy in Times of Sea Level Rise” on Friday, April 5. He is the architect of the Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks, which seek to rapidly expand information-sharing environments, open-data systems, and collective intelligence to improve health, economic stability, resilience and human security.

Dr. Joanna Huxster, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Eckerd College, will deliver Saturday’s closing address, “Communicating Beyond the Choir.” Her research focuses on public understanding of the social structure of science and how that understanding relates to trust in scientific consensus for politically divisive scientific issues like climate change.

The conference will open with an interpretation of the recent National Climate Assessment findings for Tampa Bay communities by Doug Marcy, Coastal Hazards Specialist for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Charleston, South Carolina. Marcy, a co-author for the Southeast Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, will highlight the assessment’s findings on the flooding risks to coastal or low-lying areas and the data and tools NOAA provides to assist coastal communities with adaptation planning.

Subsequent sessions will assess actions planned or already in progress by local governments and businesses to turn the impacts of climate change into opportunities for economic growth.

The conference will highlight action steps for individuals and policymakers to mitigate or adapt to climate change impacts and capitalize on opportunities created by a blue-green economy. The subject of how the media is furthering climate awareness will also be examined.

Saturday begins with Maya Burke, Science Policy Coordinator at Tampa Bay Estuary Program, discussing the intersection of science literacy and civic engagement. She will demonstrate how citizens can access the scientific information provided in the Fourth National Climate Assessment and distill the likely impacts for residents of the west-central coast of Florida. Saturday also will include sessions on real estate values, mortgages and insurance, and ways individuals can become civically engaged in the climate conversation.

Program panelists during the conference include:
Lorrie Belovich, Executive Director, The Sustany Foundation
Denise Drews, Loan Officer, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc.
Whitney Fung, Public Health PhD Student, PSR Florida
Kelli Hammer Levy, Environmental Management Division Director, Pinellas County
Erica Harris, Climate Adaptation Specialist, AECOM
Jake Holehouse, H.H. Insurance
Mayor Al Johnson, St. Pete Beach
John Morales, AMS Fellow Chief Meteorologist, WTVJ NBC 6, Miami
Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times
CJ Reynolds, Director of Resiliency and Engagement, Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
Justin Smith, Sustainability Program Manager, Project Director & Airport Architect, Tampa International Airport
Mike Twitty, Property Appraiser, Pinellas County
Lisa Vanover, The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
Sharon Wright, Sustainability & Resiliency Director, City of St. Petersburg

The Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative is a group of concerned citizens and environmental professionals committed to educating the public about the challenges and opportunities created by global warming. It emerged from the SPC Institute’s 2015 conference called Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move? Since then, the Collaborative has presented a series of documentary films and community discussions that highlight such environmental conditions as melting polar icecaps, plastic pollution of the oceans, dying coral reefs, and threats to freshwater resources.

The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 5 and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 6. Advance registration is required at https://solutions.spcollege.edu/. Cost is $20 for both days, or $15 for first day only or $10 for second day only. The program is free for students, and anyone is welcome to request attendance free of charge. Conference media partners are WEDU and the Tampa Bay Times. For further information, visit the website or phone 727-394-6942 or 727-394- 6251.



April 5, 2019 @ 8:00 am
April 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
Free – $20


SPC Seminole Campus
9200 113th Street North
Seminole, FL United States
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