MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami will be marking Earth Day with the launch of its Climate Resilience Academy.

“If you imagine the way the buildings were designed, they imagined the sea to be at a certain level, and so therefore the complete design of those buildings were based on those assumptions,” University of Miami Provost Jeffrey Duerk said.

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Florida is ground zero for climate change impacts, such as sea level rise.

“We think about the number, the strength of hurricanes, but neither of those gives us a measure of the risk of the hurricane,” Duerk said. “Risk has both economic implications and population implications.”

Changes in the climate can also have an effect on homeowners insurance rates and even spread of disease. But coming up with mitigation tools is not fast or easy.

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“It’s basically a honeycomb of cement you can put along the coastline to break up waves as they impinge on an area,” Duerk said about an innovation from UM.

A honeycomb of cement designed to break up waves on a coastline. (Source: UM School of Marine and Atmospheric Science)

The structure also allows potential trees to be planted on top to make it a hybrid sea wall. More innovations like this is part of the reason why the University of Miami is launching the Climate Resilience Academy.

“Bringing together our expertise on our campus, bringing together the expertise of our partners, and then together finding solutions that we as a community can put into action,” Duerk added.

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The academy will also combine several academic disciplines to study and model impacts so it can come up with new ways to adapt and lead the world in climate change mitigation.

Jacqueline Quynh