Partnership brings effects of climate change home for Philadelphians

climate change CUSP sign
Credit: Courtesy Franklin Institute

The issue of climate change often brings to mind dramatic images of melting polar ice caps or shoreline-eroding storms.

But the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership, helmed in Philadelphia by the Franklin Institute, is attempting to raise awareness about how the effects of climate change can be experienced by urban residents who may not own beachfront property or go on Arctic expeditions.

“It might not be so much a part of their day-to-day lives, which is why what we’re trying to do through this program is connect the climate impact to people’s passions,” said Raluca Ellis, environmental scientist at The Franklin Institute and CUSP senior program manager.

CUSP stakeholders, as part of a pilot project this summer, installed signs in the Kensington area listing tangible ways climate change is affecting Philadelphia, along with practical ways in which community members can help.

“The signs are talking about the two major projections we’ve had from our climate scientists, which is an increased number of days over 90 [degrees] and increased heavy downpours and storms,” Ellis said.

“We hope the signs will inform people of these urban climate impacts that are very relative to Philadelphia and hope they will spark interest in people to learn more and to become involved with some of the community partners we’re working with to respond to these impacts.”

That includes SEPTA, which has received global recognition for its pioneering wayside energy storage project.

Also piloted in Kensington, the initiative captures energy from braking trains and reuses it in the grid, generating revenue and saving power at the same time.

“Where the Franklin Institute came into play was we really wanted to start communicating these initiatives to the public and to our customers and to people that benefit from them, but they don’t always know it exists,” SEPTA strategy and sustainability planner Erik Johanson said.

“We wanted to bring a social component to the economic and environmental initiative by educating the surrounding community that, ‘Hey, you have this super innovative project right in your backyard and it’s benefiting the environment and benefiting the economy.’ … We’re a transit agency that provides more than a million rides to the five-county region each day, and we thought it was really important to make sure that the public was aware that this innovation was occurring in their neighborhood so they could take pride in it, but also learn about it.”

Ellis said education and awareness are two of CUSP’s ultimate goals.

“I hope that people realize that climate change is something that is impacting Philadelphia right now and will continue to do so in the future, and that there are ways that we can lessen this impact,” she said.

“There are many organizations within the city that are doing so and it’s quite easy to get involved and join in.”

For more information about community partners or how to get involved, check out the CUSP website.

By the numbers

$5.8M
The Climate and Urban Partnerships Program was financed by a $5.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

40
Days in Philadelphia each year are projected to have temperatures reaching 90 degrees by 2020, up from 26 days in 2012.

100
Signs bearing climate change facts and tips, like increasing green space or putting out rain barrels, are expected to be installed in the Kensington area by the end of the summer.

4
CUSP is also carrying out programs in four other cities: Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and New York City.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…