Heartwell to discuss impact of local governments on climate change

Heartwell to discuss impact of local governments on climate change

Global warming can be a hot-button issue in political debates and the subject of headlines. Former Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell said local city governments can take proactive measures to help solve climate change, which he considers to be one of the largest global threats.

Heartwell, community sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability Practices, will discuss these strategies during an upcoming presentation Tuesday, February 21. "Beyond the Paris Accords: Adaptation Planning and Local Government" will take place from 1-2:15 p.m. in Manitou Hall, room 122.

During the early years of his 12-year tenure as mayor, Heartwell said he recognized that climate change was a major global threat. As a result, he launched initiatives in Grand Rapids to mitigate the human impacts on global warming.

"At some point, city mayors began to recognize that mitigation alone wasn't adequate, and that the warming already present was creating vulnerabilities in our cities that demanded adaptation strategies," said Heartwell.

Heartwell attended two sessions of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change in both Paris and Warsaw in 2016 as a representative of the collective of U.S. city mayors. During his presentation, he will discuss the proposed outcomes from these conferences, and why he believes people will succeed in solving climate change.

"Today's students will be dealing with even more catastrophic consequences in years to come, so we simply must bring this mad dog of anthropogenic climate change to heel," said Heartwell.

For more information about this event, contact the Department of Geography and Sustainable Planning at x13065.

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Page last modified February 23, 2017