City of Sarasota addressing concern and impact in a climate change symposium

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - When it comes to helping the environment, Deanie Bergbreiter believes much of Sarasota is being complacent, but she says her place is on the front lines.

"Because i'm in the community, it's really important that i can use my voice to help make change in that area."

And that change consists of roof solar panels on her home and a new community composting program in North Sarasota. She says, "We've diverted 15-hundred pounds of garbage, mostly kitchen scraps from the landfills. You can get a little bucket and get your scraps and bring them to the community composting and once it's composted down, you can come back and get the compost to use in your garden."

And not only is Bergbreiter doing what she can, but Sarasota is preparing for environmental changes in the city as well; by way of the climate adaptation plan. City Manager Tom Barwin says solidifying infrastructure is only part of the plan.

"We're softening at the same time the impact on the environment by trying to lessen those influences that are causing the sea level to rise and temps to continue to get warmer."

With solar being of the utmost priority.

"we put very little carbon in the air by electric cars, hybrid cars, pedal power...whatever we can think of to innovate to bring our contribution to the negative part of climate change."

A climate chage that Barwin says is affecting the Suncoast in a big way with Sarasota Bay rising 7 inches in the past 70 years. He also says the pace at which the level is rising is rapidly increasing.

"To where we will see a 12 - 18 inch rise by 2050, so if we want to minimize that potential in sarasota and in as many cities, communities states and countries around the world need to be serious in softening the impact of climate change."

in addition, the city found there will be a major threat of extreme precipitation and extreme heat.

"Florida is on the front line of global warming." says Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University Stuart Pimm.

He conducts research in the State of Florida and points to the dependence of fossil fuels that continues to deteriorate the ozone.

"Its carbon emissions from burning oil, gas and coal that drive global warming."

Pimm feels Florida and much of the Suncoast will experience major problems in the future if no one takes action.

"If we keep on dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the rate we're doing then we know that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going up and when it goes up, temperature goes up."

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