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Furman joins NC State in search for climate change solutions

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Furman University will take part in a multi-institutional effort led by North Carolina State University to develop climate resilience solutions in frontline, at-risk communities across the Carolinas.

Geoffrey Habron, a sustainability sciences professor at Furman University, will help tackle those solutions as part of a $5 million grant awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a news release from Furman.

The grant is administered by NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment program whose mission is to support research teams that help expand and build the nation’s capacity to prepare for and adapt to climate variability and change, the release said. Other institutions on the team for the grant include University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University, and the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science.

By partnering with local communities, the team will look at how co-occurring and consecutive hazards shape climate risk, the release said. The team will examine factors such as poor infrastructure and repeated climate events, like flooding, within a larger framework of historical discrimination, disinvestment and health inequities, according to a news release from N.C. State’s Climate Office.

At the core of the effort is a community-based approach for advancing climate resilience and health equity in regions that take the brunt of extreme weather events.

“We want to bring a more equitable lens to climate,” Habron said in the release. “There’s a lot of concern about climate change and who gets impacted. There’s disproportionate impacts on certain groups of people.”

The bottom-up or participatory process ensures that those who are actually most affected have a voice and a seat at the table in climate adaptation planning.

“This is what I want to do and how I identify equitable sustainability,” Habron said in the release. “I teach a course on sustainability and social justice. It’s what I teach, but it’s also who I am. So being somewhere where I get to do things that fit my values and also the values of our department, our major and our discipline, is very rewarding.”

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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