Bruce Hyde (standing in rear) talks to students during UConn’s new course. Photo credit: Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant.

In a new class at the University of Connecticut, students not only learn the science behind global warming – they learn how to help communities adapt.

Hyde: “What we’re trying to do is to take this down to the local level in the real world.”

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Bruce Hyde of the University’s Center for Land Use Education and Research is one of several educators leading the two-semester course.

He says the first semester is spent in the classroom. In addition to studying climate impacts, students learn practical ways to help communities adapt – for example, how local governments work and how land use policies are decided.

Next semester, they’ll put that knowledge to work in local communities.

Hyde: “We’ve developed sort of a template that we can use to identify the vulnerability of municipal assets like a sewage treatment plant pump station, or even a neighborhood that may be vulnerable. And then from that, develop a list of actions a municipality can take to address those.”

The municipalities receive custom adaptation plans, and the students learn first-hand that …

Hyde: “… climate impacts are happening now and they really need to be addressed. And the sooner that happens, the better everybody is going to be.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Jan Ellen Spiegel

Jan Ellen Spiegel is a long-time Connecticut-based journalist whose career has included radio, television, print, and digital reporting. She has won awards for her reporting on energy, environment, climate...