PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — In an attempt to better educate its citizens on climate change, the City of Pensacola is teaming up with the University of Florida IFAS Extension to host the Climate Smart Floridians Program.

The program was developed by the University of Florida IFAS Extension to provide citizens with information about climate change and teach them how to reduce household expenses and personal greenhouse emissions. The program directly addresses the current and future effects of climate change in Florida and the impacts of individual choice on climate change. It will be led by Coastal Sustainability Agent Carrie Stevenson and co-taught by City Sustainability Coordinator Mark Jackson.

What does climate change mean to residents of Florida? Warmer temperatures, drought conditions, and sea level rise all lead to less living corals and seagrass die offs which leads to less fish, which means less tourists, which ultimately results in less income to Florida counties and businesses. This cycle impacts every individual person and business. The Climate Smart Floridian Program is designed to provide actions for residents to mitigate and adapt to these changes and to create a sustainable community that can thrive well into the future. Because the impacts of climate change vary geographically, it is important to know what effects are specifically expected for Florida. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Southeast region of the United States should expect the following impacts from climate change to occur in the coming years:

• Projected increases in air and water temperatures will cause heat-related stresses for people, plants, and animals.

• Decreased water availability is very likely to affect the region’s economy as well as its natural systems.

• Sea-level rise and the likely increase in hurricane intensity and associated storm surge will be among the most serious consequences of climate change.

• Ecological thresholds are likely to be crossed throughout the region, causing major disruptions to ecosystems and to the benefits they provide to people.

The program is eight weeks, running Aug. 24 through Oct. 12 and will meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m., online via Zoom. Two in-person field trips will be held towards the end of the program. Lessons will cover the principles of sustainability in water, waste, food, transportation, energy use, green building, landscaping and city resilience efforts.

Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased here.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.