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The devastating weather and flooding that hit the UK this winter caused enormous damage to buildings and infrastructure. Contractors have a crucial role to play in adapting the built environment to resist climate change, but what steps must the industry take now to meet the challenges of extreme rainfall and rising temperatures?

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Coping with flood risk Lessons from the concrete jungle What is being done now – overheating What is the role of contractors? Government support Angara PearShaped Tanzanite and Aquamarine Drop Pendant dGAuuf

The destruction caused by the recent flooding will live long in the memory. Whole communities were under water for weeks on end, without power and cut off from the outside world.

At the same time, severe storms pummelled rail infrastructure in the South-west, putting the Angara Vintage Diamond Floral Halo Oval Tanzanite Cocktail Ring in Rose Gold nJ0cgSl
out of action for weeks.

In December, Gatwick Airport was forced to close when the River Mole flooded. The airport had only 30 minutes’ warning from the Environment Agency, and when the flood did hit it caused the partial loss of electrical power in the airport’s north terminal, disabling check-in facilities.

Scores of flights were cancelled, causing untold disruption to passengers over the holiday period.

Click on map to enlarge

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Met Office

All of this occurred as a direct result of extreme weather over just one winter, but it’s not likely to be an isolated event.

Met Office data suggests extreme daily rainfall events are becoming more frequent. Just as strikingly, the average UK temperature has also risen significantly in the past century.

Climate change is no longer a far-off problem for future generations to worry about; it’s affecting housing, commercial property, infrastructure and all the people who live, work and use these buildings and transport.Adapting the built environment to make it more resilient and adaptable to extreme weather is the responsibility of the entire supply chain. But what exactly can contractors do and why should they start doing it now?

One aspect that is sure to motivate clients, contractors and the supply chain into action on climate change is the cost of the recent severe weather events.

Network Rail was one of the clients most visibly affected by the UK’s recent spell of wild weather, as giant waves crashed over costal railway lines for weeks.

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Not all seasons have a happy ending. Don't miss the 2-hour season finale of Deadliest Catch, Tuesday at 9/8c.
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Turn the Sophomore Slump into the Sophomore Jump

First year students come to college filled with high expectations, interested in making new friends, getting involved in campus life, and working toward their academic, professional, and personal goals. But by their sophomore year, many students find that the initial thrill of college is gone.

Sophomores return to a familiar campus environment, where they have established relationships and routines. While some students find this familiarity comforting, others may start to feel that their college experiences are limited or falling short of their expectations.

Maybe students begin to worry that they did not make life-long friendships during their first year of college. Maybe they have lost interest in playing the sport they played throughout high school. Maybe they discover that they don’t really like their science courses and start reconsidering a career in medicine. It is common for sophomore students to question their choices, to rethink their plans, and even to register some dissatisfaction with their college experiences.

We call this kind of questioning, and the declines in student engagement and academic performance that often accompany it, the “sophomore slump.”

Although the sophomore slump is a real phenomenon, .

You may not need to do anything. For many students, sophomore year is smooth sailing, and they continue to build successfully on the foundation they established during their first year. However, you should be aware that your student may lean on you for support now more than before. Have a conversation about your student's first year experience. Review what worked and what did not work, and encourage your student to make necessary adjustments.

If you are concerned that your sophomore is experiencing a slump, encourage your student to:

Recommend that your student experiment with a new club or co-curricular activity or seek a deeper level of involvement in a current activity. Sophomores still have many opportunities to develop new interests and grow in meaningful ways.

The sophomore year is a time to explore and narrow a major focus, to plan for studying abroad, to begin building a professional resume of experiences. But if things aren’t working out as your student planned, encourage your student to make other plans. Having a plan will keep your student motivated and on track, but it is okay for your student to change his or her mind.

. Suggest that your student speak with his or her advisors; seek out professors during office hours; consult with professional staff members in , , , , and . Inquire about peer mentors. Relationships with professionals and peers on campus will be instrumental for sophomores as they make decisions about their futures.

For instance, in many coastal regions, implementing robust community warning systems and pre-disaster prevention and post-disaster recovery mechanisms are winning attention.

5 ways to move smart city projects ahead

Martín del Castillo and Pascal Blunier from HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation shared five tips for developing countries, municipal agencies and development organizations to move smart city projects ahead:

1. Manage knowledge and promote better and more systematic ways to produce, share and use information, while also developing models and pilots that are replicable.

2. Promote an integrated approach where economic, social and environmental challenges are addressed comprehensively.

3. Promote climate resilient and environmentally friendly infrastructure and technologies.

4. Identify and integrate the most disadvantaged people in the development and transformation of the urban space.

5. Advocate for better funding mechanisms, ensuring in particular that subnational actors have fair and efficient access to resources in the framework of the global agenda on climate change.

One example is Mozambique — which is particularly vulnerable to climate change and often experiences flooding, droughts and tropical cyclones. The country is experimenting with these kinds of services, said Casimiro Antonio, deputy chief of party for programs at the USAID Coastal City Adaptation Project, implemented by Chemonics.

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The project, which started in two small cities in 2014 and will be expanded nationwide, uses SMS text messaging to warn about coming storms and provides communities and residents with updated disaster preparation information, water supply issues and other emergency management data. Down the road, the project may include vulnerability mapping, showing which areas are more prone to flooding or sea surges and helping city planners better understand where the weak spots are and whether to build in certain areas.

“People in Mozambique continue to be negatively impacted by climate change,” Antonio said. “These projects help increase people’s understanding of how climate change is affecting them and it encourages people to participate in identifying problems and potential solutions.”

Dovetailing on disaster preparation is the idea of creating sustainable economic development for local communities.

“Increased focus on community involvement for preparation of disaster preparedness and response plans in urban areas is on the rise,” said Edward Gardiner, vice president at Tetra Tech Inc.

Plans, according to Gardiner, include preparedness training such as flood warning and evacuation plans, and hazard mitigation such as levee inspection.

Gardiner cited an example in the Philippines, where city managers are learning how to maximize opportunities and engage with local enterprises to support sustainable climate proofing. In the Visayas region of the Philippines, for instance, coconut husks are being used to weave nets that are used for slope stability and to prevent erosion for roadway reconstruction projects. This initiative, while not dependent on smart technology, creates a sustainable and innovative loop for the community — the coco nets are locally made, come from an abundant local source, foster growth of new vegetation, and retain water, Gardiner said.

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