NSBE - Convention 2018 - 51

CLIM ATE
PREPARING FOR MAJOR STORMS
Thzaira Charles, P.E.

Senior Airport Engineer
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
NSBE member Thzaira Charles is a chemical engineer with
bachelor's and master's degrees in her field from Cooper
Union. Today, she monitors compliance with environmental
regulations during construction projects and other recovery
efforts from Hurricane Sandy. Deeply concerned about climate
change, she believes the most pressing issue is sea level rise:
"Sea level rise has made us rethink how we have to manage
our infrastructure, not just building new infrastructure that
accounts for the changing environment but also how we make
our existing infrastructure more resilient so that it does not fail
us when the next storm hits."

CHANGE
unless they are charged using electricity produced by alternative fuel sources, they still cause greenhouse gas emissions.
Transportation, like energy use, is also hampered by climate change. Extreme weather can disrupt almost any type
of transportation system. Floods, for example, weaken bridge
foundations and submerge roads, railroads, tunnels and all
other components of ground transportation. Severe storms
can disrupt transportation by air, ground or water. Extreme
temperatures can crack and deteriorate pavement, warp and
crack railway tracks, ground flights and freeze waterways.

AGRICULTURE
Climate change is already affecting food supplies. Many
plants and animals are only able to survive in certain climates
and are very sensitive to changes in temperature and water
levels. For example, flowers might bloom too early because
of abnormally warm temperatures and then experience frost
damage when the temperature returns to normal. Since livestock are often fed corn and wheat products, reduced yields
in these crops because of climate change might limit livestock

WORKING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE
Pamela Bingham

Consultant Program Manager for Universities/Environmental Researcher
Howard University
Before she earned her degree in industrial and systems engineering, NSBE member Pamela Bingham grew up in a Mississippi community
with significant cancer among children. Environmental justice sparked her interest in combining engineering, environmental science,
public policy and social equity. She has done food justice work, encouraging indoor growing to mitigate the impacts of "food deserts"
(neighborhoods where it is difficult to buy fresh food) and climate change on food production, and public policy work to try to ensure that
climate change mitigation is fair for the more vulnerable populations in society. Today, she is calling for "guerrilla environmentalism,"
including setting aside land to plant or preserve city-sized forests and choosing renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Since producing, distributing and burning fossil fuels, such as
coal and oil, contributes to climate change, many places around
the world are looking at alternative sources of energy that are
better for the planet, such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal
and tidal. Climate change also hampers our ability to produce
and distribute the energy we need. For example, extreme
weather events can affect energy distribution by downing power
lines and disrupting transportation of coal, gas and other energy
sources. Moreover, since energy generation often requires a lot
of water, droughts caused by climate change will make producing the energy we need difficult.

TRANSPORTATION
Transportation causes almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Although vehicles are becoming more
fuel-efficient, the number of vehicles on the roads is increasing
every year, reducing the benefit of this increased efficiency.
Fully electric vehicles are slowly becoming more common, but
www.nsbe.org

CREATING CLEAN ENERGY SOURCES
Nikkia M. McDonald, Ph.D.

Principal Research Scientist
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dr. McDonald was known for constantly asking questions when
she was a child, and she never lost the desire to know how
things work and how to make them better. These days, she
creates new materials for hydrogen-powered fuel cells. These
energy conversion devices operate similarly to batteries. They
provide an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional
energy systems because of their high efficiencies in producing
energy and their lower greenhouse gas emissions.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

| CONVENTION 2018 | 51


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