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CRMC’s Fugate to speak to Dutch Consulate about climate change, resilience
May 10, 2018, WAKEFIELD – Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council’s Executive Director Grover J. Fugate has been invited to share knowledge on climate change and resilience with officials from the Netherlands later this month.
Dutch Wavemakers, an initiative to increase water awareness worldwide and to begin conversations about the “value of human capital for a future-proof water sector,” has asked Fugate to be a guest lecturer at their May 16 brainstorming session in Newport as part of the Volvo Ocean Race event running from May 8-20, 2018.
On the major stopover locations of the Volvo race, the Dutch Wavemakers – part of a Dutch non-profit – is organizing brainstorming sessions including this one, “Water Resilience and its Impact on Human Capital: how can we prepare for climate change through excellent water education?” In Newport, Dutch Wavemakers said it wants to use climate change and resilience as a starting point for a discussion about human capital, and the climate-related challenges in the Newport area. The session will run from 3-7 p.m. at the Newport Volvo Ocean Race village.
This project has two goals, according to Egbertha Schuiling, of Dutch Wavemakers. The first goal is to make today’s children familiar with water, in the hopes that they will choose a water-related or technical study or profession later in life, Schuiling said.
“Today’s children will have to be able to deal with the challenges of climate change in the future. That’s why it is so important to make them familiar with the subject from an early age,” she said. “It all starts with water awareness.”
Schuiling said the group hopes to teach and inspire kids about water with the help of the mobile water lab they will be bringing to Newport, where local kids can do experiments. The second goal is to bring government, businesses and education together.
“Partnerships between them are necessary to develop smart technologies and innovative solutions but also a strong base of human capital in order to deal with the future effects of climate change,” she said. “
During the Volvo Ocean Race, the Dutch Wavemakers will be present at four of the stopovers, using the most relevant local water themes to begin discussions. In Cape Town, according to Schuiling, the topic was sufficient water; in Hong Kong it was clean water; and in Newport it will be water safety and flood defense. In preparation for the brainstorming sessions, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Consulate-General in New York scanned relevant stakeholders in the Newport area, she said.
“The East Coast of the US (including New England) is prone to hurricanes and severe flooding, which made it an obvious choice to focus on flood safety and resilience for our brainstorm session in Newport,” Schuiling said. “The CRMC quickly emerged as one of the most relevant institutes in Rhode Island.”
As for what the Netherlands might hope to learn from Rhode Island, Schuiling said that because 60 percent of the country is below sea level, the project is “fully engaged in protecting our country from flooding from the sea, the major rivers and damage from flooding as a result of extreme rainfall.
“There is an ongoing partnership and dialogue between the U.S. and the Netherlands in order to exchange expertise on flood defense,” she said. “We understand that efforts on water resilience are emerging in the Boston and Newport area as well.”
“It’s an honor to be chosen by the Dutch speak to them about the specific issues that Rhode Islanders face with climate change,” said CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate. “The CRMC has a lot to offer in terms of policies, practices and the best available science, both in our soon-to-be-completed R.I. Shoreline Change (Beach) Special Area Management Plan and its suite of tools, and the real changes we have seen in our state due to sea level rise.”
For more information on the Dutch Wavemakers projects, go to https://www.zsl.nu/projects . For information on the brainstorm session in Newport, go to https://www.zsl.nu/brainstorm-newport. For more information on the Beach SAMP, go to http://www.crmc.ri.gov/samp_beach.html.