Last week, Kevala was invited to participate in a MIT Entrepreneurship Forum on Climate Change Preparedness in Massachusetts. The event’s aim was to initiate a discussion of the looming challenges posed by climate change – such as rising sea levels – and the current efforts to mitigate the pace of global warming and to curb its potential damage.

Panelists represented a wide range of organizations; each with a unique area of expertise — policy, technology, or research–  to contribute to the conversation and gradually evolving, multi-faceted climate solution. Fortune 500 companies, GE and IBM, were present as were local organizations, Boston Harbor Now and Boston city government, and MIT Sloan system dynamics professor, Dr. John Sterman.

The diversity of panelists made for a rich conversation and was followed by a handful of startups (including Kevala!) that presented innovative solutions to a diverse range of climate change issues. The event was empowering and well-attended by students, professionals and academics from the local community.

Three approaches to climate change preparedness emerged from the discussion that anyone can advocate for in their community and state.

Plans for mitigation of and preparedness for climate change need to become the new normal. These plans must be charted simultaneously to successfully transition communities, states and ultimately, the country then, the world, to the future of this reality. Mitigation tactics include investment in clean energy projects and energy efficient buildings that stem the use of fuel-burning power plants. Preparedness, on the other hand, refers to the adaptation of infrastructure and lifestyles to higher sea levels, hotter and drier summers, larger storms and swings in seasonal temperatures, and other climate changes.

Our aging water and electrical infrastructure requires drastic changes to accommodate a cleaner, optimized electrical grid and the advent of more frequent, large scale storms. Boston city government is currently working with regional utilities to enable construction of local microgrids (grid-independent buildings or areas) to eliminate the need for expensive grid upgrades. Similarly, Boston Harbor Now is working with international experts and other groups to evaluate water infrastructure upgrades that will reduce the likelihood of damage from rising sea levels and greater seasonal precipitation.

It’s not one solution, it’s many and we have the technology and know-how to act. IBM, GE, and participating startups, Advanced Microsystems, Global Thermostat, Kevala and others, demonstrated the viability of advancements in solar, energy storage, CO2 recycling, water management and optimization, and more that are at our disposal today. The good news amidst the doom and gloom of climate change talk is that we live in an era of possibility and among a generation of thought-leaders capable of charting a new course.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the entrepreneurial community actively engaged in using technology to mitigate unnecessary environmental impacts. At Kevala, we’re actively working with a growing number of partners who use our data and software to find high value, low cost locations for new renewable energy projects. A big thanks to the MIT community for inviting us to participate in the conversation and for moving forward a much-needed discussion about the future of our environment.