HARC Environmental Science for Area Teachers: HARC Research Scientist Carolyn LaFleur addresses Teacher Training Session
HARC Research Scientist Carolyn LaFleur, P.E. was invited to speak at a recent training event for Environmental Science teachers from local school districts. Her talk, entitled “Resilience and Sustainability in Infrastructure Design” focused on design and strategies for flood mitigation and urban revitalization.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey there is heightened awareness of ways in which conventional development practices exacerbated flooding. The loss of wetlands and dramatic increases in impervious cover contributed to the catastrophe. As the work of disaster recovery continues, our infrastructure must be rethought and redesigned with new understandings of modern flooding in our region. The structures and strategies of the natural world offer inspiration for adapting to these new realities. The systems and organisms found in nature are elegantly designed to superbly perform a myriad of functions using minimal materials and energy, adapting to changing conditions as a matter of survival. This is another lesson from the natural world that we should take to heart. Sustainability and resilience are essential to adaptation, and therefore essential for survival.
The future that today’s students will inherit calls for better, smarter ways of going about the business of civilization. Environmental Science instruction is critical to foster the understandings that underpin advances in engineering and technology to address the many challenges of our region and our world.