Sustainability-based communities and systems must be planned, designed, and implemented in light of the best available science and predictive models. At the same time, such data and analysis must be available to the general public in "a form that makes sense on the street." This is especially the case for the best available science for climate change and the implications of predictive models that clearly point to significant challenges for the region now and through the coming decades. These are not minor challenges. These are challenges that will test our ability to adapt very rapidly across only one or two generations. The Climate Change section is devoted to a fundamental understanding of the natural systems and variables that influence not just daily weather, but long term trends in climate and ecosystem structure and function.
The core of this section was prepared by Ian Johnson, a former graduate student in the Sustainable Community Development Masters program, who studied the impact and management of climate change on the St. Croix ecosystem, but especially the multiple-use, sustained yield management of native grass prairies for biomass energy yield, carbon sequestration, and endangered species habitat.