City and regional planning (CRP) students enrolled in a cross-disciplinary class titled Global Climate Change Science and Policy recently helped organize a public Talanoa dialogue for Ithaca and Tompkins County. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills, and experience through storytelling . . . Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in dialogue by creating a safe space that embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.”
CRP students included Venus Dulani (B.S. URS ’19), Rhea Lopes (M.R.P. ’19), Khyati Rathore (M.R.P. ’19), and Syke Hart (M.R.P. ’20). The class worked primarily with one of their instructors, Allison Chatrchyan, director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, and the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) to hold the dialogue and collect stories from the community about the local impacts of climate change.
Approximately 20 people attended the Ithaca event and shared their stories in response to three main questions posed by the students: “‘Where are we?’, ‘Where do we want to go?’ and, ‘How do we get there?'” According to the summarizing report, community members voiced concerns related to extreme weather events, the gradual loss of green spaces that help keep temperatures down, toxic algal blooms in Cayuga Lake that can be tied to rising water temperatures, and possible solutions to these local problems.