Fema disaster recovery center locator,business continuity plan testing,ready comics - Step 2

It’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy brought devastating floods to the east coast and destroyed many homes and businesses. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires that publicly traded companies file annual reports that disclose potential risks to the company’s bottom line.
Partnerships between the public and private sectors are turning a brownfield into a solar field and making one city a model for renewable energy development. True to their name, Acorn Woodpeckers collect hundreds of acorns over the course of a year and hide them away in holes in trees. A group of geneticists have found a gene responsible for palm oil yield, which could help make palm oil farming much more efficient in the tropics. Carbon dioxide acts as a fertilizer for most plants and new research shows that woody vines, or lianas, are thrive particularly well in a more carbon rich environment. Even in the heart of a bustling city, wildlife can find a home and help urban folks to appreciate nature, as Ari Daniel reports from Exeter in the UK. SCLAR: What we really should be talking about and we're not talking about is how we begin to build our cities so that they respect the way in which the climate is changing coastlines, the way in which storms are happening, and so on, and that's really not happening. And finding ways to connect urban folks with the natural world - by building wildlife trails in the heart of the busy city. BLOOMBERG: Conditions outside are dangerous and they're only going to get worse in the hours ahead. CURWOOD: At the final tally, Sandy dealt an estimated $68 billion dollar blow to the economy, and killed more than 280 people in all. CURWOOD: So looking at the challenges that folks are facing, what do you see as the most acute?
Superstorm Sandy knocked out electricity in lower Manhattan, prompting calls for distributed power. People who can afford to spending $5,000 to $20,000 to put these back-up systems in place -- imagine if we used all that money collectively and we buried our lines so that they would be protected better, we invested in more distributed energy and we invested in wind power and people put up more solar energy and things of that sort.
CURWOOD: What steps are the various levels of governments taking to encourage living in safer, smarter areas? There is talk that the state of New York and the city of New York are talking about buying up the properties at pre-storm value of people that live in those places. What we should be doing is thinking about in a long-term way about how to deal with this regionally. CURWOOD: If we did all the work to adapt to climate change, Professor, what do you think a truly resilient city would look like? CURWOOD: Elliott Sclar is a Professor of Urban Planning at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
CURWOOD: Superstorm Sandy got a boost from unusually warm waters in the West Atlantic, warmth that is expected to increase in years ahead as the climate changes.
MEYER: So it requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA to use the best available climate science when updating its flood insurance maps and at least figure out a way to take rising sea levels into account in those maps. CURWOOD: To what extent do you think the members of Congress and the Senators knew about this when they voted on the transportation bill? MEYER: Well I know the entire section of the bill that dealt with flood insurance was not discussed on the floor of Congress, and in fact received very little debate. CURWOOD: So FEMA has been directed by law now to take climate change into account with the flood insurance program. I talked to FEMA a bit ago before the government shutdown started, and they told me they were in the process of finalizing letters to be drafted to recruit people to sit on this council with the hope that it would meet some time in the fall. CURWOOD: Now, Theo, as I understand it, this summer FEMA did release a report that documents the impact of sea level rise. CURWOOD: Now, why do you think FEMA has been so slow to act, given that they acknowledge the seriousness of the problem? MEYER: Well it's a little unclear to me, but FEMA has certainly had its other struggles to deal with this year. CURWOOD: One of the issues about flood insurance has been that the government subsidizes risky development - redevelopment in places where perhaps people shouldn't be rebuilding. MEYER: Yes, there actually are a number of government programs that subsidize development and redevelopment sort of in risky areas along the shoreline. CURWOOD: To what extent do you think we should be rethinking how we do flood insurance in this country? MEYER: Well, I think a lot of people would tell you that the reforms that were passed last year were actually a step in the right direction. In fact, according to Lawrence Taylor, more than 70 percent of the required annual reports of publicly traded companies ignore such climate risks.
TAYLOR: The bottom line is there's cost of the laws if they had put additional controls on the things they did, or if it shifted the prices and therefore their product would be more expensive.
TAYLOR: First of all, they are about six percent of all the businesses, and 88 percent of that six percent mention climate change, 84 of them mention the cost of laws, but only 22 percent of them mention possible physical impacts, and when you stop to think about it, some of these with offshore oil wells are going to have physical impacts.
CURWOOD: To what extent do these companies talk about the carbon bubble, that is this notion that regulation will likely choke off the extraction of all the various fossil fuel reserves that are out there at some point or another? CURWOOD: Lawrence, when you went through this, what sectors of our economy did best in making the assessment of climate risks? TAYLOR: In terms of the physical impacts, agriculture is high, mining is 50 percent, for example, many utillities, about 42 percent of the utilities have that. Another possibility is maybe they accept the reality of climate change, but they don’t think climate change is a financial threat to their business.
And finally, I think a few might be concerned about possible lawsuits if they admit climate change is real. TAYLOR: Well, I can give you big generalities, but the bottom line is, I got to thinking about my children and my grandchildren, and the kind of world they will be experiencing if you accept what the vast majority of scientists are saying.
DEVILLARS: This is a model site for solar development, not just here but anywhere in the country. Beaumont Solar’s Phil Cavallo was joined by the Vocational-Technical graduates he hired recently.
ARENBERG: During construction, students from the vocational-technical school will apprentice on-site, learning the skills needed to build a solar farm. ARENBERG: On the public side of the partnership, it was municipal workers who cleaned up this site. MITCHELL: One of the things that government officials and the private sector are recognizing more and more is that big problems are solved locally.
ARENBERG: This city has fitted three schools, a public gymnasium, and the Department of Public Infrastructure building with solar panels. SPALDING: My last point is to all you guys sitting to the right and left of me, young men and women. ARENBERG: The longer the older generation avoids reining in carbon pollution, the tougher the challenge will be for these teenagers. CURWOOD: For many animals, this is the time of year to gather plenty of nuts and seeds to stuff into store cupboards ready for winter. The story goes that Walter Lantz and his new bride, Grace, were on their honeymoon in a cabin in California. The fruit of the oil palm looks like a coconut, with fruit on the outside of the shell and palm oil on the inside of the shell (Photo: Big Stock Photo). As early as the 1920s, breeders guessed that a single gene controlled both shell growth and oil yield.
Rob Martienssen at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, worked with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board to complete the oil palm’s genome. The new discovery should enable palm oil farmers to produce the same amount of oil using fewer trees and less land. So if you are a species of tree which has an architecture which is really vulnerable to liana infestation, you’re likely to get those extra lianas in you. CURWOOD: So here we are with about 40 percent more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than we had 150 or so years ago, and that’s like fertilizer I guess in some respects for these vines, but what about about the trees? Woody vines, or lianas, are a natural part of tropical forests but they are disproportionately benefiting from a more carbon rich atmosphere.
CURWOOD: Tropical forests are usually a net sink for carbon, that is they soak carbon up out of the atmosphere, but what do you think is the capacity for forests or individual trees to store excess carbon dioxide? So what we’re starting to see is a higher level of drought, possibly higher temperatures in the Amazon killing the bigger trees. Lowland tropical forests respond to a warmer climate by migrating up mountainsides to cooler climates. CURWOOD: Now another change in tropical forest dynamics is this notion that some species of lowland rainforest trees are beginning to migrate up mountain sides. The big question is whether they can do it fast enough, and in particular, if they can do it fast enough given that actually when one goes to the tropics and goes to the mountainsides you often find rather than having a continuous forest there may be agricultural fields in the way. CURWOOD: Well, Oliver Phillips teaches at Leeds, in the north of the UK, and we stay across the pond for this next story, but head down to Devon in the southwest, and the historic cathedral city of Exeter.
You see, this nature trail is in the heart of Exeter - a city with a population of 120,000. DANIEL: Last year, the Wildlife Trust chose the common swift, or Apus apus, as its ambassador. DANIEL: For the record, they manage to sleep in the air by shutting down only half their brain. CURWOOD: Our story on Wild Exeter is part of the series, One Species at a Time, produced by Atlantic Public Media, with help from the Encyclopedia of Life. ANNOUNCER 1: Funding for Living on Earth comes from the Grantham Foundation for the protection of the environment. Donate to Living on Earth!Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment. Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an autographed copy of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Three disaster recovery centers in Leonardo, Little Egg Harbor and Manahawkin will close Saturday, April 20, and reopen as Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Centers on Monday, April 22. The disaster recovery centers transitioning are the center at the Henry Hudson Trail Activity Center in Leonardo, the center at the Little Egg Harbor Senior Center in Little Egg Harbor Township, and the center at the Ocean County Southern Resource Center in Manahawkin. According to state and federal officials who have been monitoring how may applicants are visiting the state’s disaster recovery centers, the number of individuals seeking help at these specific three centers has dropped. The transition into SBA loan outreach centers will provide homeowners, renters, business owners and nonprofit organizations face-to-face service in order to answer questions about low-interest disaster loan programs, completing loan applications, checking the status of applications, and closing on SBA loans.
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Sign up to have exclusive WOBM Listener Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE. Urban Planning Professor Elliott Sclar joins host Steve Curwood to discuss what lessons were learned from Hurricane Sandy about how to protect our coasts and cities in a warming world. Last year Congress passed a transportation bill with a clause that directed FEMA to take climate change into account for flood insurance.
Living on Earth's Naomi Arenberg returns to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where she reported last year on the start of green initiatives, and now charts the city's increasing success with solar power. Oliver Phillips, geography professor from the University of Leeds, UK tells host Steve Curwood that’s not good news for tropical trees.
A year after Superstorm Sandy left a trail of destruction along the East Coast, communities are shoring up their beaches and rebuilding.
I talk about naturalists being the most endangered species that there is, because people are not growing up curious about their world.
Stay indoors and certainly away from the parks the beaches, the boardwalks, piers and seawalls. It is estimated that Sandy has caused 10 to 20 billion dollars in damage, making it one of the most expensive storms in American history. During Sandy, Urban Planning Professor Elliott Sclar of Columbia University told us the monster storm was hitting both rich and poor, making truly comprehensive planning for recovery necessary. I think that part of what’s happened is the insurance settlements are proving to be slower in coming. A year ago you were saying that some people would just have to think different about where they live. I think the problem is that it’s a human tendency to, once the danger passes, we all really want to go back to living our lives just the way we were living them before the problem came.
All that money would go a lot further, but the mechanisms don't exist, so people are seeking individual solutions to what's really a massive social problem. One of the problems with moving things inland is everyone's reluctant to write off real estate that they have along coastlines, so not that much is happening on that front right now. Those would be cities that would be able to withstand the kinds of forces that would be be coming. And though the US Congress has yet to directly enact mandatory limits on global warming gases, Theo Meyer recently made an interesting discovery. A subset of this bill was called the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, and there are a few lines in this subset of the bill that actually deal with climate change. One of the two authors of the bill - it’s the Biggert-Waters law - one of those two members, Judy Biggert, is out of Congress now and the other member, Maxine Waters, she's actually come out against some portions of this spill after it became apparent how it would raise flood insurance rates for some people in risky areas around the country.
What I can tell you is that the flood insurance program is kind of on the front lines of climate change for the federal government.
The bill required the agency to set up this council called the Technical Mapping Advisory Council. I reached back to FEMA for more comment when we ran this story, but it was during the government shutdown and some of the members of the agency who would be required to answer it were furloughed at the time. It was a report done by a private contractor for FEMA that had been in the works for several years, I believe, and it was about the impact of rising sea levels, the potential impact on the flood insurance program.
If we’re going to have almost a 50 percent increase in this area, perhaps the doubling of the people there, this would really bulk up this program.
It has been flagged by the Government Accountability Agency as one of the federal programs that is in trouble. When this reform bill was passed, Hurricane Sandy hadn't yet hit, which is obviously taking up a great deal of FEMA’s energy, and there have been very vocal protests against these proposed flood insurance hikes that have now gone into effect, so I think FEMA has spend a lot of time dealing with those as well. The number of policies that are subsidized is forecast to slowly slowly slowly go down over the next few years, although it's certainly hard on policyholders who are used to paying $500 or $1,000 dollars a year for flood insurance, and are now seeing their policies jumped to $10,000, $15,000 a year in some cases we’ve we've heard about, although it's unclear exactly how many of those cases there are.
When Superstorm Sandy hit, Wall Street shut down as lower Manhattan was flooded, and billions of dollars of value was lost in the fires and floods related to the storm.
Separate from the cost of the laws are the possible physical impacts, and think how oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, if a hurricane comes and clobbers it hard, that’s a physical impact.
Insurance, which is a broad category, does very high, and particularly insurance that does property, and casualty insurance. In other words, to be in an annual report, you’ve really got to be dealing with the economics of the business. Some carbon companies have actually been sued and the lawsuits have been thrown out to my knowledge, but they’ve been sued admitting that if climate change is real, and they might be contributing to it, then they might have a responsibility - that was the basis of the lawsuits. The city has seen disinvestment and high unemployment more recently, but officials decided that energy efficiency and renewable power were key to moving forward. We’re all here because this has an opportunity to make a lot of engineering jobs in the future so it's just like to give us a heads-up. Two years ago Massachusetts set up its Clean Energy Results Program specifically to promote energy generation on formerly contaminated land, like this new stone field. From the 1930s through the ’50s everything went in the dump - construction waste, household appliances, garbage, trashed vehicles.
His firm, Blue Wave Capital, is the renewable energy developer that’s overseeing this project, as well as others in New Bedford.
Michael Gibson runs Energy Services at ConEdison Solutions, the firm that’s actually building the Parker Street solar farm. They finished the job ahead of schedule and under budget, at half of the one-million dollars allocated. By January both the high school project and one that will power the entire water department will be online, a total of 4.3 megawatts in the municipal system.
The advice from that older generation on this sunny afternoon is all about collaboration, public and private.
For one particular bird of California and the American southwest, that means a diligent search for oak trees, as Michael Stein explains in today's BirdNote®. A racket on their roof drew them outside, where they spotted a woodpecker, pounding away at the shingles. Extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere helps plants grow, but that may not be good for rainforest trees.
The Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet, and Gilman Ordway for coverage of conservation and environmental change. In a minute, finding wild things in a busy city, but first this note on emerging science from Poncie Rutsch.
The most popular oil palm species comes in three types, which yield different amounts of oil.
They determined that by mapping the genome of the oil palm seed before planting, they could select only the trees with thin-shelled fruit – the ones that will yield the most palm oil. A difficult one to answer, but on average, one would say between 50 and 100 years, surprisingly little. But of course that same carbon dioxide which is fertilizing trees is also changing the climate, and in the Amazon the last few years there’s been a series of intense droughts. Now that process then, accelerated mortality, if you like, is starting to counteract the accelerated growth which is driven by the CO2 so the mortality rate could increase beyond the growth rate.
So if trees sequester more carbon than vines do, but vines are taking over, what does that mean at the end of the day? So the real challenge for the species is not just to be able to move, but in fact also to be able to jump over these fragmented landscapes and find in essence their preferred climate of the future.
The space declines as you go up a mountain, and that means those species which need to move up, and many of them will find themselves increasingly confined to smaller and smaller areas.
Exeter is a bustling attractive tourist center today, but as Ari Daniel discovered when he visited during the summer even a city center can provide a hospitable home to nature. But this is a story about an urban community banding together to create room for a natural community to take root.
They've come to rely on holes in the eaves of houses to lay their little eggs - holes that have been getting fixed up and filled in recently by people that don’t know any better. A pensions company that’s added green space and nesting boxes for swifts on their property. Naomi Arenberg, Bobby Bascomb, Emmett Fitzgerald, Andrew Keys, Helen Palmer, Kathryn Rodway, Adelaide Chen, James Curwood, Jennifer Marquis and Gabriela Romanow all help to make our show.
Supporting strategic communications and collaboration in solving the world’s most pressing environmental problems. This indicates the information needs of survivors in the area have mostly been met, say officials.
Lawrence Taylor, a citizen researcher who compiled the data, lays out the details to host Steve Curwood.

What people are doing is buying back-up generators and that's a perfect example of something that makes perfect sense at the individual level, but is irrational as a social response. The ProPublica reporter discovered that lawmakers did pass a piece of climate change legislation last year before the storm struck. It's one of the few places in which climate change and rising sea levels are explicitly mentioned in any federal legislation passed in the last two decades.
The provision of the bill raising flood insurance rates for some homeowners went into effect this month. It's difficult to think of the federal government program that could be affected by climate change much more than the flood insurance program.
They didn’t set hard deadlines for doing this, but it said within a year of when the law was passed. The report found as other reports had found previously, estimated that sea levels could rise four feet by 2100, but the new finding was that the portion of the country at high risk of flooding in what are called special flood hazard areas - those are places where homeowners are required by law to buy flood insurance if they have a federally backed mortgage - the report found that those areas would increase by 45 percent by the century’s end, and that the number of Americans who live in those areas could double, with most of that increase due to those rising sea levels and to climate change.
It fell deeply into debt after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and deeper still after Hurricane Sandy. The government has spent vast sums of money on beach nourishment, matching or paying for most of the cost of pumping sand onto beaches from New England on down to Miami. So one thing that's been proposed is some sort of government payout that would make flood insurance more affordable for people who truly can’t afford it.
But comparatively few businesses tell their investors the risks that climate disruption poses for their enterprises. So there’s two different things, cost of laws, and possible physical impacts that would cost them, them as a company.
And about 762 are looking at the cost of new laws that might take place because if there are climate change laws, a carbon tax or something like that, or what EPA is trying to put into place, then those particular companies would have some costs affected. But I suspect that some of them are really concerned that if they’re really responsible they might have some financial things so they would rather ignore putting climate change in the report at all.
On our 2012 visit, Living on Earth’s Naomi Arenberg found that, despite incentive programs, solar residential projects were just getting off the ground.
Today he’s among the experts telling high school students and recent graduates about the next stage of the project. And New Bedford’s solar programs are already paying off - literally - in terms of employment. It’s a subsidiary of the giant energy company that serves New York City and some suburbs.
We don’t care that New Bedford, when you look at income, when you look at other statistics, might be not a community that has a lot of resources.
I think my boss, the President of the United States, would say the same thing I’m saying. An additional seven-point-one megawatts will be generated by projects awaiting the mayor’s approval. Working together will be the way to reduce energy costs, meet the ambitious goals set by the Massachusetts governor, and perhaps help save the planet, one city at a time. Yet though life flourishes in the hot humid equatorial regions, competition for space there can be fierce.
There’s probably a few really old guys who get to about 500 years, but most of the system is quite fast.
And if that were to be the case, then instead of seeing a carbon sink, which is what we’ve been measuring in the Amazon for decades now, in the future we could actually see the system becoming a carbon source.
It’s a local charity organization devoted to protecting natural spaces in the southwest corner of England. And that can take some convincing, and teaching, which is why each year, the Devon Wildlife Trust nominates a different species to serve as a kind of ambassador to the cause. A volunteer group that helps transform dodgy public parks into spaces friendly to both people and wildlife. The storm center smashed ashore in New Jersey, and devastated a huge swathe of the US East Coast. Tucked in the very back of a huge Transportation bill, Meyer found language directing the federal government to consider climate change when it comes to subsidized flood insurance. It insures 5.6 million American households, many of which are located in coastal areas and are vulnerable to flooding, hence the need for flood insurance.
This council would have to produce a report with some initial recommendations on how conditions were changing, and how FEMA could make preparations for the future. It's currently about $25 billion in debt, and it doesn't really have a way to pay that money back.
That can be an incentive to develop along that coastline and to build hotels and vacation homes and what have you there if the people who live there are not paying the whole cost of making sure that those beaches have sand on them. But between the school and a wooded area to the north, a two-acre parcel was covered with glistening, crushed stone over the summer - an important stage in a toxic waste cleanup. Parker Street closed around 1960, and several years later the city repurposed some of the land for a new high school. ConEd Solutions will own the array, once it’s built, as well as the energy it produces, and then sell the electricity back to the city at a competitive, fixed rate.
Now, Lantz was ready to shoot the pesky critter, but his wife suggested that, instead, he vent his frustration in a creative fashion. But there was no way to tell which type a tree was until it grew large enough to bear fruit.
As levels of carbon dioxide increase, the dynamics of species competition can be upset and thrown out of whack. Now, lianas are, because they’re getting this free ride to the canopy, these are the plants which will take special advantage of those extra resources. Emily Stallworthy works here as a conservation officer, and Paul Martin as an education officer. Two years ago, the species of choice was the European hedgehog, or Erinaceus europaeus, an animal that just needs a way to get in and out of people’s gardens to really thrive in a city.
So Stallworthy’s worked with the city council to require new buildings to have a few special nest bricks that come with holes. Even the local university has worked with school children to plant a colorful wildflower meadow on one of its lawns.
Living on Earth is also supported by a friend of Red Tomato, supplier of righteous fruits and vegetables from northeast family farms.
But as bad as that is to me, one of the larger issues is the social equity issue in this, because a lot of people who were very very badly hit had no legal standing to collect anything. Individual homeowners are buying generators, towns are talking about their piece of the waterfront.
It hasn’t produced that report, and did not produce that report by the deadline in July because the council in fact has no members. The others, even less, 466 of this 3,900 talked about possible impacts, and they ranged all over from property management companies to you name it, who have recognized that there may be some impact.
Back then, former dumps were often developed, until the EPA was established and, in the late 1970s, began regulating PCBs.
That’s the inner-city company installing all of the arrays planned for municipal land.
Gibson is a Florida native, and he compared solar production back home with the Bay State’s output. And we work with our partners, both private and public, at different levels of government, to make sure we can pull all the pieces together. CO2 acts like a fertilizer for most plants but new research shows that the woody vines, or lianas, that thrive in the tropics are particularly well suited to a more carbon rich environment.
That said, we’ve got evidence that trees in the Amazon have been growing faster, for example, in the 1990s than they did in the 1980s.
The suggestion is that in any one place along that gradient, you’re tending to see new plants which are coming in. By raising awareness around one species at a time, that species benefits, as do all the organisms it associates with.
I'm talking about a large number of New Yorkers who are undocumented and renters and lost their housing in low-lying areas such as in places like Staten Island and are living in motels further inland. New York City is thinking about everything from hardening up property to $40 billion seagates to protect against storm surges, but is anybody thinking in a larger regional systematic way about it? Those efforts, those combined, collaborative efforts are producing something that’s not going on anywhere, certainly in this region, and perhaps not even anywhere in the country. New Bedford will soon get 43 percent of its power from the sun - the final goal is 60 percent renewable energy. And what's good for the lianas is not necessarily good news for slower growing tropical trees.
The new recruits in the forest tend to be from the warmer lower end of the spectrum, and the trees which are dying tend to be those which favor cooler, higher altitudes. EPA’s Curt Spalding reminds the students, seated on the folding chairs next to the stone-covered field, that their involvement is key. Oliver Phillips, Professor of Geography at the University of Leeds in the UK explains how these vines or lianas are getting the upper hand.
To me, if you want to know what the hopeful sign is, hopefully as these people began to take power in the world, some of these things will change.

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