Preventing or mitigating climate change and the factors that cause it are a major part of keeping Mother Earth habitable. But that's just half the battle.
Given that climate change is already here, with some effects that will not go away anytime soon, adaptation is the next-best thing to preventing it altogether. And by that we mean preparing to deal with the physical effects of these changes on day-to-day life, as the authors of the Adaptation chapter of President Barack Obama’s National Climate Assessment say in the video below.
“It is a word that doesn’t resonate with a lot of people,” says convening lead author Rosina Bierbaum of the term “adaptation.” But, she adds, thinking of it as preparedness may help.
“I would say that the level of adaptation planning is not commensurate with the threat of climate change,” Bierbaum says. “We’re planning for a significantly different climate than humans have experienced for the last 10,000 years.”
The three-foot sea level rise that is predicted and/or is already happening in some coastal cities is but one example, she says. It would seem a no-brainer to not build within a meter of sea level rise. But people insist on doing so anyway.
Municipalities are showing a flurry of activity “because they’re on the front lines,” Bierbaum says. “They’re seeing these extreme rainfall events come in an hour that used to come over days. And they’re trying to deal with floods, with droughts, with forest fires.”
There is much that can be done, say Bierbaum and her fellow convening lead author, Arthur Lee, both in mitigation and forestalling the changes with measures such as emissions reduction.
Check out this video from The Story Group to find out more.