A satellite view of Lousiville
Urban Heat A satellite view of Lousiville © Courtesy of NASA


Summer Heat and Drought Experts Available

As we hit mid-summer, there seems to be no break from the heat around the world.  Is this a sign of things to come?  And if so, what can we do about it?

Warm temperatures around the world in June 2018 made for the fifth warmest June on record and the first half of the year was the fourth warmest for the planet, according to NOAA.  Heat waves are gripping much of the United States, Europe, and Japan, among other parts of the world.  These heat waves have real-world implications from economic to health.

While not every heat wave can be attributed to climate change, we do know that it’s exacerbating the phenomenon.  Electricity prices rise, worker productivity decreases, rates of illness and death increase, and crop losses can be devastating.  In fact, the World Health Organization predicts that urban heat will kill a quarter million people annually by 2050, with impacts felt more strongly in less wealthy neighborhoods.  From Dallas, to London, to Montreal, to New Delhi, cities are searching for solutions, and nature can help.

Let’s just take one effect of record-high temperatures: drought.

Currently, it’s very difficult to predict when and where a drought will occur, but the science is getting better every year.  What we do know is that drought’s impacts on a country’s water supply can be extreme and widespread, as evidenced by recent news out of Cape Town, Shimla (and other parts of India), the American West, England, Hong Kong.  Drought can affect a community’s economy, environment, and society.  How a country manages its water supplies can tell you a lot about the state of its economy and political stability.  Drought and water stress are also indicators of a country’s inequalities: water security is a social good, and governments need to ensure it is delivered to all citizens, not only those who can afford it.

As you continue to cover drought – and heat – related stories, we wanted to share information about the following experts from The Nature Conservancy:

Global Water Challenges and Conservation

Giulio Boccaletti is the Conservancy’s Chief Strategy Officer and global water security expert.  Giulio is a scientist and expert on environmental sustainability who has deep expertise about resource economics and water security.  He is available to speak about global water crises, how nature can be a solution, climate change and water security, resource economics, and infrastructure finance.  

Global Water Security

Andrea Erickson is the Conservancy’s managing director for water security.  In this role she works with the Conservancy’s global water funds and global water markets teams to increase source water protection around the world.

Colin Apse, freshwater conservation director, Africa.  For the last five years, Colin has worked on freshwater project development in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and Gabon.  This includes the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund and development of similar projects for the Kafue River watershed in Zambia and Cape Town, South Africa.  He can speak about the management of freshwater resources globally to meet rapidly growing human needs, while protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.

Hugo Contreras serves as the Conservancy’s water security director in Latin America.  In this role, he defines the regional water strategy, and leads the Latin America’s Water Funds strategy and implementation.  He has a strong background on environmental economics and public policy.  He can also speak about the Latin American Water Funds Partnership and other initiatives that have been key to promote Water Funds success in the region.

Urban Water Security and Urban Heat

Pascal Mittermaier, global managing director for cities.  Pascal leads a team focused on how nature can build resilient, livable, and thriving communities.  He’s available to speak to urban water challenges such as stormwater run-off, water quality, and excessive urban heat/drought.

Rob McDonald, lead scientist for The Conservancy’s global cities program.  Rob researches the impact and dependencies of cities on the natural world.  His research looks at the way green infrastructure can play in the well-being of urban residents.  Read more about this topic in the Conservancy’s report, the Urban Water Blueprint.

Laura Huffman, director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, is available to speak on a variety of topics related to the effects of drought on water security, preparing for drought conditions, and how the rapid rate of population changes and rapid development plus prolonged drought cycles can impact river and aquifer systems.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.