Change, Adapt, Or Both?

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.”

It is not good enough in my mind.  I will continue to campaign for emission reduction via action.
What do you think?  Should we begin to adapt instead of focusing on lowering emissions and reducing resource consumption?  Are we already too far up the creek without a paddle?


  1. says

    I believe the biggest environmental issue is population growth, the increasing load on finite resources and resulting polution of the atmosphere and oceons. Rapidly growing populations in developing countries aspiring to western life styles is a frightening senarion, and I like you, Gavin, feel the best way to make an impact is to try to set an appropriate example. I believe we should all aim to live as sustainably as possible. We can’t rely on our politicians to lead the way, so your use of social media to spread the message is highly commendable. For my part I live modestly with my wife. I grow food organically, recycle almost everything I use, use rainwater tanks and P.V electrical power. Although retired now and an old fart, I experiment with new techniques like Wicking Worm Beds, and less successfully, try to pass this on to whoever wants to hear through my own blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. says

    Looks like it is too late to stop, slow down or reverse the change that is coming but we still have to try. Never never never give up as Winston Churchill said. We have to at least try in our own sphere, agitate politically if we can and most important show by example and for us older ones try to leave someone behind who has some understanding of sustainable living, practical skills and perhaps a library of helpful literature.

  3. says

    I think we need to take steps both ways. With the rate of change that is happening I don’t think we are changing fast enough to prevent the disasters we know will befall us. Taking steps to counteract what we know will happen is prudence in my opinion. I for one am profoundly glad to be moving from a low lying, very close to the coast suburb to 500m above sea level Ballan and soon. Given the polar melt rates I am not sure that even if we stopped every single coal power plant, every big industry polluter and switched (impossibly and miraculously) to sustainable energy 100% tomorrow, that it would be enough to stop the warming that has already taken place. Less ice means less cooling, larger dark warmth absorbing areas and an increasing rate of melt so I don’t know how we can stop this in the short term.
    This isn’t admitting defeat though. If we fight with all our strength to stop but make prudent changes to adapt then I think we stand a much better chance of surviving the eco apocalypse I believe is coming.

  4. says

    Our weather is being manipulated a lot by H.A.A.R.P.
    There are 2 huge HAARP systems on Exmouth Gulf in WA. Who the hell gave the USA permission to put these here? I would imagine that you would be aware of these stations. The original HAARP is in Alaska. If any one thinks I am loopy….look it up for yourselves.
    STILL… we should make every effort to conserve our lands and climate in even tiny ways. It will all help.

    • says

      Reference please. Are you also implying that all the climate scientists are wrong and that our climate is being manipulated by some global government bent on world domination? Or is this just tongue in cheek. x

    • says

      I guess this all comes down to “Plan for the worst and hope for the best”. It does feel though that adapting is admitting defeat, and that bothers me.

      As for HAARP, I looked it up again ’cause I couldn’t remember what it stood for: High Freqency Active Auroral Research Program. (So shouldn’t that be HFAARP?) Anyway, the program sounds somewhat interesting and but this quote seems appropriate here: “HAARP has been blamed by conspiracy theorists for a range of events, including numerous natural disasters. Various scientists have commented that HAARP is an attractive target for conspiracy theorists because according to computer scientist David Naiditch, ‘its purpose seems deeply mysterious to the scientifically uninformed’.[3]”

      Not sure if this conspiracy theory is related to the chemtrails one or not. (Chemtrails: what look like vapor trails from jets is supposedly stuff the US government is spraying on us all. Can’t remember the purpose since I don’t take this stuff seriously, but it’s mind control or some such nonsense.)

    • says

      As I used to be in the communications branch in the Navy for 20 years, I have it on pretty good authority that the installation in Exmouth is a Very Low Frequency installation used to communicate under water to submarines. I have even seen the transmitter.

      No HAARP to be seen. I think the climate scientists may be right and it is human emitted greenhouse gas to blame!

    • says

      I try not to keep definite ideas or beliefs but be very open to all information. So… I research and research until I arrive at clearer picture. Hence my opinion of HAARP.
      You would know about the USA blasting the ionosphere back in the 60’s and 70’s to alter the Van Allen belt.

      When you watch the videos from NASA of the space station over the earth at night, it makes me want to cry. All the lights showing with the use of our non-renewable resources.

      Yep, human emitted greenhouse gas for sure.
      And…why are so many lights left on in high rise office buildings? Certainly not for planes to see them.

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