Vicki Arroyo

Arlington, VA, United States

About Vicki

TED Conference

TEDGlobal 2012

Comments & conversations

171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
most of us don't make emergency plans for any of these and other more common threats, and so I agree it's good to think through these things in advance, though what might work for some scenarios will not work in others, so makes sense to consider different threats (fires vs. floods vs. terrorism) and think if your strategy will work. I stupidly stored important papers in the basement of my Arlington home that had some water after Hurricane Isabel passed. Maybe that's better in the case of a tornado or windstorm, but not good in a flood. Thanks!
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
I like the runways on stilts idea - but it might be a bit scary to fly into one! Given the incredible economic value of airports, I do not doubt that we will find ways to protect or move some of that infrastructure. It will not be cheap or easy, but it's so central to trade, business, tourism, and more. The analysis will have to be site-specific to determine the best options over the long-term. And in the near-term, we should all be asking these questions as airports get renovated and expanded (as is happening now in New Orleans, ironically).
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Thank you for reaching out. There's a great deal of work that can be done to develop crops that will survive in new conditions, anticipating the problems of more water stress, for example - my friends Kris Ebi and Joel Smith are doing some of this work in Mali. The slide I showed of Bangladesh regards a flood warning system that could give advance notice to move people, animals, and equipment out of harms' way when flooding is anticipated. This was developed in part by our National Center on Atmospheric Research here in the US, but given satellites and other technologies, these techniques can be exported to help in Africa and elsewhere. For coastal areas, hard questions are being raised about what areas to protect (with levees) or change (e.g.,bstilts) or relocate - and when we plan, we need to think about protecting the critical ecosystems (wetlands, mangroves, and beaches) along our coasts as well. If we just put up walls we will lose many vital ecosystems that we depend on for fishing,etc. Thanks!
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Coral reefs around the world are in trouble in part because of higher temperatures contributing to bleaching. But as you mention, there are already other stressors like nitrogen and other pollutant runoff, damage from boats and anchors, etc. And others are plundered for profit. So as with so many issues, the impacts of climate change just add to a list of existing stressors. It's important, then, to start tackling some of these more manageable localized stressors to try to give corals and other vulnerable species the best possible shot at being resilient to changes in temperature.
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Good morning then! Yes, in general, roofs and other surfaces (pavements, exterior walls) can be more reflective and could have a significant effect on urban heat island by increasing what's known as the "albedo effect" - more heat is reflected into space. This could be especially important given the loss of so much reflective sea ice due to warming.
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Hi Sara! As I point out in the talk, many federal governments - including ours here in the US - are starting to take a hard look at the implications of climate change for their agencies and the public they serve. In fact, under an Executive Order signed by President Obama, all federal agencies were to submit adaptation plans this June. These have not yet been released (we should ask them to do that soon!) and even then, it's only a first step. There is a great deal the federal government can do to promote state and local adaptation. For starters, encourage them to invest differently with climate change in mind. We often hear there are barriers to making changes in the way infrastructure is built - or even rebuilt after a storm or flood. I was pleased to see US Dept. of Transportation's Federal Highways Administration clarifying that states and others can spend federal resources in a way that recognizes changes due to climate change (rising seas, greater heat impacts, drought, etc). Of course, more federal dollars would help too, but this is a good start.
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Hi Desiree - I am sorry to hear about your friends' problems! There were so many missteps and missed opportunities to help people in advance of the storm. Douglas Brinkley's fabulous book about Katrina -- The Great Deluge -- notes that empty Amtrak trains were offered to the City to evacuate prior to the storm. Many of the cities buses were left in low-lying areas and flooded with the rest of the city. About 250,000 vehicles were found floating in the floodwaters: like the car that floated into my mom's Gentilly home in that photo I showed at TED. We absolutely have to be smarter about how to inform people where they can get rides out of town. I think this lesson was learned given the deplorable conditions and loss of life at the Superdome and Convention Center - the idea of sheltering people in the city when a mandatory evacuation is called is crazy and it cannot happen again and so they have to have other options -- and time! -- to evacuate in advance.
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Hi Mark- it's easy to be overwhelmed when you consider the rate and severity of the changes we are seeing - in our oceans (acidification), ecosystems, and even in our communities. We absolutely need to take steps that you mention to recycle and do what we can as individuals, but we need policymakers across the globe to step up in order to see the tremendous change in "business as usual" that we need. So we need to make this more of a priority and start calling it out. Where is this issue in the campaign season, for example? Why has it become difficult to utter the words "global warming" or "climate change" at a time when the impacts are mounting and the clock is running? We need to call on our government leaders to step up so we can avoide the worst nightmare scenarios. And in the meantime (and even then) we have to find ways to prepare and sometimes just muddle through it. As I've seen with my own family, it's not easy or painless. But we have to do what we can where we can. Thanks for the question and hang in there!
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Hi Morton - some states and communities in the U.S. and around the world are planning with these changes in mind. Seventeen US states have adopted or are working on adaptation plans, and a number of cities and counties are looking at their vulnerabilities and incorporating changes into transportation plans, water treatment, coastal planning, and more. Even beyond states and communities calling this work "adaptation" to climate change, there are others changing various practices because they see changes on the ground - for example, engineers who are replacing smaller culverts with much larger ones to carry more water because they are experiencing more high-precipatation events.
171236
Vicki Arroyo
Posted about 2 years ago
Live Chat with TED Speaker Vicki Arroyo: Preparing for our changing climate
Sure - And for those wanting more information, our terrific colleague Sara Hoverter did a full "tool kit" report on this subject that's available on our "adaptation clearinghouse - www.adaptationclearinghouse.org" Things like planting trees, using reflective pavements and roofs as I mentioned in another reply, and creating more greenspace are important methods of reducing urban heat island impacts - they also have the benefit of creating more healty communities with better quality of life. Of course, the infrastructure is just a part of protecting people from heatwaves - emergency preparedness and outreach to the vulnerable neighborhoods is important. Some communities are doing "mapping" to learn which neighborhoods are expected to experience more heat impacts and direct resources and outreach accordingly. Thanks for your question.