2022 Sustainability Series

The 2022 Largo Sustainability Series will feature a monthly collection of stories, videos, and resources that explore the impacts of climate change on our community. This series of topics will showcase current and future conditions such as sea-level rise and urban heat islands, and their impacts on Largo residents, workers, and businesses. Participants can expect to view climate maps, find new books and podcasts, hear from other community members about their experiences, and more each month. 

Check back each month for more topics and resources. Be sure to also follow the City of Largo on Facebook (fb.com/CityofLargo), Instagram, and Twitter @cityoflargo to connect with the City and community members. Do you have a climate change story you would like to see highlighted in the series? Contact [email protected] today!

2022 Sustainability Series

February: Climate Change

What is climate change? Climate change, or global weirding as Dr. Katharine Hayhoe calls it, is the change in long-term, overall weather conditions at the regional or global level. It isn’t a hot or cold day, seeing more or less rain in a given summer, or even a single hot year- that is the weather. The climate is the set of conditions that you would expect to see, weather is what you actually get. 

Check out this video featuring astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to learn more about the difference.  

Check out the following books, podcasts, tools, and more to take a deep dive into the topic of climate change.

Sea Level Rise
Sea Level Rise ViewerPlug in your address and see how different amounts of Sea Level Rise might impact, or may already be impacting, your community. Developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

Podcast Recommendation
For What It’s Earth Podcast: Emma Brisdion and Lloyd Hopkins have a friendly, easygoing rapport that makes tough, complex issues like wildfires, fast fashion, and flooding not just approachable but also enjoyable. The duo regularly brings on expert guests to discuss topics such as insects, sustainable cities, and electric cars. For What It’s Earth recently hit its 50-episode milestone with a fascinating episode about tea and coffee. Listen on Spotify or Apple. 

Recommended Reading
Saving Us- A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe: Stop by Largo Public Library to explore the problem of climate change and the solution.

Search and Save Trees

Ecosia Search Engine: Did you know that you can plant trees with your search engine? So far, Ecosia has planted over 142,000,000 trees by partnering with organizations across the globe. Keep track of how many trees you plant with ease! 

Climate Change Facts and Figures

Vital Signs of the Planet: According to NASA, human activities have profoundly increased carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere. View their Vital Signs of the Planet to explore maps, graphs and more climate change facts and figures. 
Did you know that climate change can severely impact local air and water quality? Heatwaves can cause air to become stagnant and trap pollutants at ground level. Flooding can lead to sewer overflows and waterway contamination. Increases in storm severity and the likelihood of wildfires can also directly impact the quality of our air and water, which are key parts of our community’s identity and local economy.

Check out the resources below to learn more about ways to improve these vital natural systems. 

Daily Air Quality Maps
Look up daily air quality maps for your area using the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Index map 

Find Water Quality Data
Search for water quality data in your neighborhood using the Protecting Florida Together Water Quality Status Dashboard. It also contains information about current red tide statuses, ways to stay engaged, and an online Education Center to learn more about what impacts our local water quality.  

Healthy Waterways

The quality of our local waterways is
a critical part of our public health and safety.
Watch this quick video to hear how individuals across the state are working hard to ensure that we all have access to clean, healthy waterways.  

Electric Vehicles

Did you know that electric vehicles (EVs) can greatly reduce the amount of local air pollution? Because they eliminate emissions from engine exhaust and significantly reduce emissions from brakes, driving an EV can help improve the air we breathe. Learn more about the City of Largo’s EV Ordinance and provide your feedback.  

Scoop the Poop

Stormwater is the number one source of water pollution in our area. Storm drains lead directly to our waterways with no filters from our yards, driveways and homes. Rain can carry chemicals, oil and trash from our yards to the Bay and the Gulf where it can harm fish and other aquatic life. Learn more about how you can help improve our waterways at Largo.com/Stormwater. 

Plastic Free Largo
Reduce your use and ditch the plastic! Single-use plastics are common pollutants that pose health and environmental risks to our waterways and litter streets, parks, and public spaces. Visit Largo.com/PlasticFree to learn more about the City's efforts to reduce the presence of plastic in our waterways and how you can help. 
April: Food Insecurity

For the month of April, the City of Largo is exploring food insecurity in the community as a key building block of community resilience. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It can even be the lack of healthful foods, which can lead to an increased likelihood of health concerns, particularly among children. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods. More than 134,000 Pinellas County residents are food insecure with as many as 36,000 of them being children. Over 7,000 Pinellas children are chronically hungry, meaning they have little or no access to food when they are not in school on weekends, holidays or vacations. 

Join the City of Largo and numerous other organizations in the region who are committed to learning more about how food insecurity impacts our community and are fighting to end it. 

Meet Diane
Diane lives in Tampa Bay and like so many others, lives on a fixed income. “After I pay my rent, electricity, and other bills, what’s left?" she said. "You know, not much for food." Read more about
Diane's story through Feeding Tampa Bay who aims to create a hunger-free Tampa Bay by 2025.  

Edible Container Garden
Community gardens are a great way to grow your own food and save money, but what if you don’t have the space? Container gardens can fit in almost any space and most supplies can be bought at your neighborhood dollar store. Grow vegetables, fruits, greens and more!

Food Prevention Week (April 4-8)
Did you know that up to 35% of all food produced goes uneaten? With so many community members being food insecure, Largo is a partner alongside other municipalities and community organizations for Florida Food Waste Prevention Week. Visit
SaveTheFoodFL.com to learn more. 

Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF)
PCF is focused on helping those in need within Pinellas County.
Their Childhood Hunger Relief Fund was established to fight against childhood hunger through charitable donations in collaboration with the Juvenile Welfare Board and the Pinellas Office of the Public Defender. Donate your time or resources today.  

Interactive Map of Food Insecurity
Explore Feeding America’s
Map the Meal Gap tool which highlights food insecurity across the United States. It estimates that in Pinellas County alone, there is an annual food budget shortfall of over $73 million dollars.  

Food Pantry Locations
Do you or someone you know need access to fresh, healthful foods? The Pinellas County School Board keeps an
active list of food pantries available throughout the County. 

May: Housing and Utilities

Having safe and resilient housing helps protect lives and neighborhoods, and builds a more sustainable Largo. Our homes can help build equity across generations and serve as social hubs in the community. However, many homes are experiencing higher risks due to increasing storms, flooding, and heat. Building new, affordable and sustainable housing, while also repairing what already exists, is critical to our region.

Watch this Practical Guide to Climate-Resilient Buildings from the UN Environment Programme.

The City of Largo has resources for homebuyers, renters, homeowners, landlords and developers. From a first-time homebuyers program to rental assistance, visit Largo.com/Housing to explore the opportunities.

Innovation and technology are being used in unique ways to help create new types of housing. For example, 3-D printed homes are being tested throughout the world, including in Florida. Check out this video featuring Florida’s first 3-D printed home by Printed Farms.

The World Bank podcast explores the concepts and realities surrounding resilient housing. Through interviews, sound bites, and trips to countries where resilient housing is underway, we will share with you the World Bank’s new effort to support building homes better before a disaster strikes. From structural engineers to government officials, you will hear from a wide variety of professionals working to strengthen the homes we live in.

An important part of resilient housing is affordable utilities, but these prices vary widely across the U.S. Generally, lower-income households spend a larger portion of their pay on costs related to energy, compared to households of higher incomes. Duke Energy offers the free EnergyWise Home Program, where residents can get up to $147 in bill credits by enrolling. They also offer a free Home Energy Check, which can be done online, by phone, or in your home- and it comes with a free energy efficiency kit!

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is focused on developing new programs and tools in partnership with local governments and stakeholders to support affordable, attainable, and resilient housing goals. View their Housing Affordability & Resiliency page to learn more about their available tools and initiatives, including the Housing Inundation Assessment Tool.

June: Flooding (Sea-Level Rise)

Sea-level rise is an increase in ocean levels due to the impacts of human-induced climate change, primarily from burning fossil fuels. While sea levels won't rise equally everywhere, according to the Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel, the St. Petersburg tide gauge, which measures local water levels, shows that it has increased at least 7.8 inches since 1946- and it's rising more quickly every year. The City of Largo is currently updating its Sustainability and Resilience Action Plan to analyze current and future impacts of sea-level rise to better plan for and adapt to changes in our community. Check out the resources below to find out how rising tides might impact your home, commute, and community.  

Don't forget that flooding from hurricanes can be worse with rising tides. June 1 kicks off hurricane season, so be sure to create or update your family's emergency preparedness plan 

Rising Tides: 

Want to find your home or business's risk level to sea level rise? Just enter your address into the Risk Factor Tool from the First Street Foundation to find out. According to Risk Factor, "overall, Largo has a moderate risk of flooding over the next 30 years, which means flooding is likely to impact day-to-day life within the community." It also shows that there are nearly 5,000 properties that have at least a 26% chance of being severely flooded over the next 30 years, the length of an average home mortgage.  

Documentary- Rising Tide: Priced out in Miami

The State of Florida will feel some of the first and worst impacts of sea-level rise. The CBS News Documentary Rising Tide: Priced out in Miami highlights how sea-level rise impacts communities inland as they manage an influx of residents from low-lying areas.  

Climate-Driven Displacement 

What is climate-driven displacement? It is when climate change causes one community to be voluntarily or involuntarily replaced with another, typically one with more resources. A recent research report for The Leroy Collins Institute at Florida State University studied several areas throughout the state, including the City of Largo, to better understand how sea-level rise might cause climate-driven displacement as higher-income residents begin to move inland. The report studies several neighborhoods within the City that are likely to experience some degree of climate gentrification now and in the future and what can be done about it.  

Project Phoenix 

What if a Category 5 hurricane struck the Tampa Bay region? How would the events unfold, and what would the region look like in the storm's aftermath? The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council conducted Project Phoenix to find out. According to the simulation, one week after the disaster, only 1- percent of residences and commercial structures in Pinellas would have power. After up to six months, that number only increases to 15 percent. 80 percent of all structures in the county would have been destroyed. Visit the Project Phoenix Hurricane Simulation page to learn more and hear stories from Mexico Beach, FL, which Michael hit in October of 2018 as a Category 5 Hurricane.  

Sea Level Rise Across the County 

The Union of Concerned Scientists created an interactive map, When Rising Seas Hit Home, to explore moderate and severe impacts of sea-level rise across the country. Nearly 500 communities will be almost completely flooded by 2100 with lower levels of sea-level rise. That number will climb to more than 650 whole communities if carbon emissions continue to rise over the next several decades. You can explore these communities—and discover the consequences of rising seas—by clicking through their series of maps and pages. 

Past Sustainability Series
Check out the Facebook Live Playlist for 2021 Sustainability Series here.

Want to go even further back? Go watch the 2020 Sustainability Series here.

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