Vicki Arroyo's Pop Tech Talk: Lessons Learned from Extreme Storms

October 31, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, attention is rightly focused on helping the families affected by the storm and repairing the damage it caused.  The storm is one of the largest and most damaging to ever hit the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast, resulting in several deaths, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, leaving more than 8 million without power, and causing billions of dollars in damage.

At the same time that we recover, though, it is important to recognize that this so-called “Frankenstorm” also underscores an urgent need for communities to get serious about preparing for the climate changes that helped super charge Sandy.  Extreme storms like Sandy are becoming more frequent and more powerful due to warmer surface water temperatures and warmer atmospheric conditions that lead to more precipitation.  

This imperative to prepare for climate change and build greater resiliency in our communities was the central message in Vicki Arroyo’s recent PopTech talk, which was released today, and it is a central theme of the Georgetown Climate Center’s work.   PopTech brings together innovators from many different fields—science, technology, design, corporate and civic leadership, public health, social and ecological innovation, and the arts and humanities, among others – to share ideas and approaches for solving some of the world’s toughest challenges.

In her talk recorded on October 20 in Camden, Maine, Arroyo provides examples of adaptive actions taking place and explains why it’s imperative to prepare our communities and our families for climate changes that are underway. From the hottest July ever recorded in the U.S., to the worst drought since the 1950s, to a wildfire season that is rivaling the worst season ever, the record-breaking extreme weather events witnessed this year reflect a new normal. Now is the time to take steps to build stronger and safer communities.

A video of the talk, which takes on even greater meaning after this latest devastating storm, can be viewed below:

In addition to the PopTech speech and Arroyo’s recent TED talk, which provides examples of adaptation from around the world, the Georgetown Climate Center is analyzing the storm’s flooding footprint to glean additional information that will help local communities prepare for and minimize the impacts of extreme weather and rising sea levels to the greatest degree possible in the future. 

Hurricane Sandy also underscores the urgent need for national leaders to put aside their differences and start taking action to mitigate further climate change.