When I write about climate change on this blog, I usually focus upon changes to prevent it from happening in the first place. This year, due to so many climate signals that the change is already upon us, it may be time to start focusing on adaptation as well as changing behaviours.
I know, I know. Talking about adaptation to climate change is kind of like admitting defeat in the battle to lower greenhouse gas emissions. As I see no real signs of “The Great Disruption” as described by Paul Gilding, so maybe it is time to do both.
Does that mean we start building seawalls to protect vulnerable coastlines from sea surges as water levels rise? Do we begin to migrate populations towards the poles? Do we start to abandon affected areas as lost causes? Do we adapt in place if we think we have half a chance of making a go of where we currently are?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but some people are giving it thought. People like Vicki Arroyo, with a background in environmental law who talks about adapting to climate change consequences.
This is one of the few TED talks I have seen on climate change that focuses on adapting rather than trying to slow or reverse it. Realistically, a comprehensive response is going to include both. As like many other TED talks, it still has a lot of wishful thinking, however it does make you wonder if we need to take quicker adaptation action.
Do we really want be go down in history for taking the one real time that we were actually put to the test, to work together – from politics and big business all the way down to individuals and stuffing it up? I don’t want to be part of the collective shrug of humanity’s shoulders and say “oh well, we can’t control ourselves, so let’s prepare for the results of our stupidity instead.”