Entergy Sponsors Climate Resiliency Workshop With Loyola University

Jul 9, 2021 8:30 AM ET
Blog

Most New Orleanians have dealt with flooding at one point or another, and climate change threatens to make this problem even worse. 

To inspire young people to help find new solutions to the flooding issues presented by climate change, Entergy recently sponsored a week-long educational symposium, Loyola Academy Science + Design, hosted by Loyola University. This was Entergy’s second year sponsoring the workshop. 

“Climate change poses a significant risk for our communities,” said Patty Riddlebarger, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Entergy Corporation. “Through our support for the Loyola Science Academy, we hope to increase the resiliency of our communities and equip students and residents with the knowledge and tools to advocate for effective storm water management practices and policies to combat climate change.” 

Loyola professors Dr. Aimée Thomas and Dr. Bob Thomas led the group of 20 high school and university students, and recent university graduates to teach them how green and gray infrastructure can help mitigate against the impact of climate change. 

The group visited several locations around New Orleans:

  • The group took to canoes at Bayou St. John to learn about the bayou’s ecosystem and what the lessons of the past can teach about living with water today and in the future.
  • They visited businesses, including Parkway Bakery and Tavern, and the New Basin Canal Lighthouse, to learn about innovative storm water management solutions they’ve adopted.
  • Clarie Commagere, program manager for Urban Conservancy, showed the group a bioswale at Stronger Hope Baptist Church. In a bioswale, a small garden that collects rainwater so plants can absorb the water, thus taking strain off the city's pumping systems.
  • The group met with Thrive NOLA Executive Director Chuck Morse. Thrive NOLA educates citizens about drainage issues and provides them with green infrastructure jobs.
  • At Paul Habans Charter School, they met with Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Senior Planner Grace Vogel for a tour of the school’s new green infrastructure project. The site is near the school’s playground and features rain gardens, a rainwater detention pond, a French drain and various native plants to help reduce flooding in the area.              

Vairleene Einstein, Loyola University student, was drawn to the workshop because of her background. Einstein was born in Haiti and lived in Los Angeles before moving to New Orleans. Each region has a problematic relationship with water, which prompted her to participate in the workshop. She’s found the workshop informative and learned about a more comprehensive array of subjects than expected. 

“It took a different route because, initially, I was studying the science side, and now I'm studying the social sciences,” Einstein said. “With my findings, I'm going to see what motivates people to implement green infrastructure and ways we could get people involved at a younger age.” 

Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship at Entergy
Entergy is a national leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, with more than two decades of voluntary action on climate change and reducing carbon emissions. Entergy owns and operates one of the cleanest large-scale power generation fleets in the nation, as noted in the 2020 Benchmarking Air Emissions report by independent energy and environmental advisory firm M. J. Bradley & Associates. In September 2020, Entergy accelerated its climate action goals with a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy
For more than 100 years, Entergy has powered life in our communities through strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives help create and sustain thriving communities, position the company for sustainable growth and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our top CSR priorities are education/workforce development, poverty solutions/social services and environmental programs. Entergy annually contributes $16-$18 million in shareholder-funded grants to approximately 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the communities where we operate.