The impacts of climate change often fill people with fear. Aiming to teach communities how to prepare for climate change, rather than fear it, members from multiple organizations joined forces to lead a Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) workshop at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center (WPSCC). As members of the local West Philadelphia community gathered together for “The Weather Ready Homes: Climate Change, Energy, and Your Health” workshop, they learned not just what climate change is and how to prepare for it, but were encouraged to share their personal experiences about how climate change has affected their daily lives.

“Who in this room thinks they’ve felt the effects of climate change?” Ali Kenner, professor at Drexel University, asked the crowd as she introduced the topic of discussion.

The majority of the room raised their hands. 

“And what have been some of those effects? How has it impacted you?” Ali asked.

“Hotter summers!” many exclaimed from the crowd.

“Floods!” others responded.

The reaction from the crowd was clear: the climate is certainly changing, and it’s not only affecting the weather, it’s affecting our health too.  The effects of climate change are causing warmer, wetter weather throughout the Northeast, so much so that this region receives

71% more rain than the rest of the U.S. Additionally, this warmer, wetter weather can create changes in the air that affect health conditions like allergies, and asthma, and increase the chances for mold growth in homes.

Throughout the CUSP workshop three overarching topics were discussed: Energy efficiency and weatherization, mold in homes and schools, and emergency preparedness.

Within each part of the CUSP workshop active demonstrations were given that had members on their feet participating with enthusiasm. Among them an inflatable model house that demonstrated the importance of energy efficiency, as well as activities like “Is this mold, or no?” that tested the crowd’s recognition of mold in homes.

By the end of the workshop members of the community learned what climate change is, how it affects our health and our homes, and how to solve the problems that occur because of it. Participants created their personal emergency preparation plans complete with written phone numbers of people and businesses to call in case of a disaster, and ten lucky members even went home with an air purifying house plant.

Thanks to the dedication of multiple partnerships with eco and health-conscious organizations, as well as the event’s sponsor, The Franklin Institute, the CUSP workshop turned out to be a great success. With these types of programs, we empower local communities to stay healthy, live well, and create a better future for our planet.

Here is a summary of the partnering organizations who helped make this workshop possible as well as the workshop’s guiding mission.

The Weather-Ready Homes: Climate Change, Energy, and Your Health Workshop is part of an educational research project under the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) sponsored by Franklin Institute which is led by multiple partnerships including the Clean Air Council, Drexel University, Energy Coordinating Agency, Liberty Lutheran, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. As part of this program, workshop leaders strive to teach community members the relationship between their health and climate change, as well as effective solutions and available resources in their area. Because of partnerships like this with multiple organizations, we are able to facilitate successful programs that benefit the future of our local communities and empower their health and well-being.

If you’d like to learn about climate change, there will be another CUSP workshop on February 20th, from 4 pm to 6 pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia! Please find the details below:

Wednesday, February 20th, 4 pm- 6 pm

St John’s Lutheran Church

3101 Tyson Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19149