What is climate change?

    Climate change refers to long-term shifts in global temperature and weather patterns, presently caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Sometimes we refer to climate change as climate disruption, due to its wide-ranging impacts on our world and human society. 

    What are the impacts of climate change in our area?

    Climate change is worsening many types of natural hazards, increasing their intensity and destructive capacity. Such hazards include heat waves, flooding, drought, wildfires and their smoke, and invasive pests. As these hazards intensify, they impact human health and livelihoodsthe ecosystems we depend onthe economy, and our homes, buildings, and roads. These hazards don’t impact everyone equally. Some people are more exposed to certain hazards (e.g., city-dwellers experience heat waves more intensely), while others are more vulnerable to their effects (people with asthma are at greater risk when wildfire smoke worsens air quality). 

    What is climate resilience?

    Broadly, resilience refers to a community’s ability to withstand a disaster. Sometimes resilience means adapting our systems and behaviors to climate change (like not building in flood-prone areas), other times it means strengthening community networks or emergency response when a disaster can’t be avoided.

    Resilience can also refer to our ability to anticipate, accommodate, and thrive amidst our changing climate conditions and hazard events while enhancing the quality of life, reliable systems, economic vitality, and conservation of resources for present and future generations.

    We’ve noticed that sometimes resilience is seen as returning to the way things were before an adverse event, which may not be ideal. When we speak of resilience, we mean improving the quality of life for everyone. 

    The project team, made up of staff from Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia, is excited to partner with community members to identify how we can best adapt and build resilience to climate change.