Environment

long-awaited study on Louisville’s growing urban heat island was released last week, and now it’s open for public comment.

For those who want to know more about heat islands, or what they can do about them, a symposium next week will provide information.

“Urban heat island” refers to the temperature disparity between a city’s urban core and outlying rural areas. Factors like a lack of canopy trees and a surplus of dark, paved surfaces exacerbate the effect.

The symposium May 13 at Jefferson Community and Technical College is sponsored by the Partnership for a Green City, which is a collaboration between Metro government, Jefferson County Public Schools, the University of Louisville and JCTC. Partnership director Brent Fryrear said it’s open to anyone who wants to learn more about the urban heat island, including its effect on community health and possible solutions.

The conversation is especially relevant now, Fryrear said, in the wake of Georgia Tech professor Brian Stone’s comprehensive assessment of the scope of Louisville’s problem. The study lays out the exact number of new trees or cooler roofs that are needed in each of the city’s neighborhoods, and a lot of those changes will require individual citizens to be informed and on board.

“A lot of people think they can’t do anything because their little bit isn’t going to help,” Fryrear said. “One of my last slides in a new employee orientation program says ‘it’s the greatest of all mistakes to think you can do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can to help.’”

Symposium admission is $20 and includes lunch, but Fryrear said scholarships will be available for those who can’t afford to pay. The symposium is May 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Here’s a link to register.