Global Change Program Newsletter: Urban Heat Islands, New Opportunities, Summer Research

Global Leaders Talk Solutions at Climate Action Symposium: “We are all-in on this”

People from 39 countries and 22 US states gathered this September to talk solutions at the third-annual Global Climate Action Symposium. From Argentina to Ghana to Turkey, renowned climate scientists, top policy makers, students, and community members, pooled their collective expertise to work toward a more sustainable future, discussing the themes: Sustainable FoodClimate & Health, and the UN Ocean’s Decade. An annual collaboration spearheaded by the Global Change Program alongside partners at the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, the Atlanta Global Studies Center, and six European Consulates in Atlanta, the Symposium featured a student art contest along with keynotes, lightning talks, panel discussions, and MasterClasses over three days. Keynote Dr. Dawn Wright’s sentiment, shared on the third day, echoed a chorus of speakers, European Consulates, students and non-profit leaders: “we are all in on this,” she says.
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Sea Level Sensor Team Partners with Emergency Response Agency to Implement Data-Driven, Life-Saving Solutions

The Smart Sea Level Sensors team deployed a new portal this month, built in collaboration with the Chatham County Emergency Response Agency (CEMA). The portal, which maps inundation at high-resolution, will provide the City of Savannah and Savannah community with vital, real-time information during flooding events. To learn more, read this feature written by summer intern Alex Ip. Explore another perspective in the Saporta Report.

Students Pitch Carbon-and Cost-Saving Measures in the 2021 Carbon Reduction Challenge

Students stepped up to propose ways to reduce carbon emissions and costs at major organizations during the Carbon Reduction Challenge, organized by the Global Change Program and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business. If fully implemented, these projects could prevent more than 30 million pounds of CO2 emissions and save over $8 million each year.

First prize was awarded to Suhas Yalamarti for his project at ABEC. One of Yalamarti’s key takeaways from participating in the Challenge: that “carbon reduction know-how is essential for tomorrow’s business leaders.”

The Global Change Program’s Dr. Kim Cobb agreed, saying that “the Challenge celebrates what can be done at scale—far beyond the actions of one individual.”

Kendeda Building Micro-Grants Awarded for Campus Community-Based Research

Two researchers from the Global Change Program are developing a system to monitor biodiversity at the Kendeda Building Eco-Commons. Lalith Polepeddi and Akhil Chavan, who were awarded a Kendeda Building Micro-Grant this summer for their research, are using AI and computer learning in order to capture and identify images of wildlife using trap cameras.

UrbanHeatATL collects over 1,000,000 temperature readings from community scientists

From collecting more than 1 million data points, to installing stationary sensors with City of Atlanta, to participating in the NOAA Heat Watch Campaign, UrbanHeatATL shares their successes, progress, and future goals since launching in March in their inaugural newsletter. Read it at

Want to learn even more? Watch their new 3-minute video feature.

Partner Spotlights

Center for Sustainable Business Launches Drawdown Georgia Business Compact
The Drawdown Georgia Business Compact is an inclusive and collaborative initiative is focused on galvanizing climate action in Georgia. Anthem, Better Earth, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Eversheds Sutherland, Goodr, Google, Interface, Norfolk Southern, Southwire, TKE, UPS, and YKK are founding members of the Compact. The mission? To leverage the collective impact of Georgia’s business community to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the state by 2050 through a just, competitive, and sustainable transition.
Georgia Climate Project features local partners, community in Climate Stories video series
Learn about Savannah’s climate future, and explore the intersection of solar farming and regenerative farming with Bancroft Solar Farm. Learn how to get involved in this video series, which highlights local organizations and community partners taking climate action. Georgia Climate Stories is an initiative to highlight the personal stories of Georgians whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by climate change and those who are taking practical steps to respond to climate change and its impacts.

Student Spotlights: Summer Interns

Through funding from the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain and the Georgia Tech College of Sciences, students from Georgia Tech and Spelman College worked on  the Smart Sea Level Sensors team and UrbanHeatATL team.  Meet all the interns here.
Explore their work:

  • See how Austin Ang collaborated on a tool to track flooding
  • Explore ArcGIS StoryMaps by Simrill Smith and Elizabeth Karivali
  • Read how Meaghan McSorley is working with frontline communities in Savannah
  • Stay cool without air conditioning with Sadica Murphy
  • Stay in touch with UrbanHeatATL on Instagram and Twitter, launched by Maya Neal

Join the climate solution

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The Global Change Program is made possible through the generous support of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.