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Climate resilience in Puerto Rico, USVI subject of upcoming 2-day conference

Seven state and federal agencies will celebrate Earth Day by offering a two-day virtual conference promoting climate resilience and equity in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, on April 19-20.

Nearly 80 speakers and moderators working with climate change issues in the islands will share their perspectives in plenary talks and breakout sessions and dialog with the public.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), US Geological Survey, US Department of the Interior (DOI), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and The Nature Conservancy are conducting the event.

“As those of you who live in these beautiful islands know better than most, our climate is in crisis, and the time is now to take action,” said Lisa F. García, EPA Regional Administrator.

“You’re bearing the brunt of an increasingly extreme and unpredictable global climate and many island communities are on the frontlines of the climate emergency,” she said.

“Scientists also tell us there is still a brief window of time to avoid the very worst consequences of climate change. We must act now, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing just that – taking historic action to tackle the climate crisis — and EPA is at the center of achieving the president’s ambitious goals,” García said.

Puerto Rico and the USVI have unique historical, geographic, ecological, social, and cultural dynamics. They face climate challenges that require science-based, locally driven, and culturally informed solutions.

This conference will gather leaders in government, business, society, and nonprofits to share insights, support, experiences, and solutions to the immediate and urgent challenges posed to island communities by climate change.

“Connecting science, policies, programs, and people to share climate change knowledge and opportunities can help promote equity and build climate resilience. Collaborative actions are essential, as climate change impacts of drought, wildfire, hurricanes, and sea level rise cross many boundaries,” said William A. Gould, director of the USDA Caribbean Climate Hub.

Speakers will address the shared priorities to save lives, protect economies and the environment, and sustain livable communities, as well as measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build back better in a more sustainable, healthy, equitable, and resilient way.

“It is vital for conservation organizations, academia, government, and communities to work together as we collectively face climate change threats. Through innovative conservation, sound science, effective policy, and community input, we can advance a holistic approach to climate change,” said Alberto Mercado Vargas, Puerto Rico Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy.

A wide range of speakers from government, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector will gather at this event to provide a showcase of new projects and discuss needed public policies.

The event will be accessible online and registration may be done through this link.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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