Flash floods, freak storms, droughts, rising seas, fires…..weather forecasts and events feel more and more like “biblical plagues.” But as we live Climate Change, not only do we need to “mitigate” the conditions that are causing our climate change, we also need to be prepared, as we cannot stop what is happening, but hopefully we can slow it down so we can manage it.
Three words you hear a lot these days if you travel in climate “policy” circles, are adaptation, resiliency and mitigation. Even if these aren’t the regular circles you travel in, it is important for all of us Climate Mamas and Papas to understand what these words are about and for each of us and our families to do what we can to be prepared for climate change, and address these issues. Let’s look at how each of us can take positive action to protect our families and our communities in the face of our changing climate.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Mitigation means: efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. It can be as complex as a plan for a new city, or as a simple as improvements to a cook stove design. Efforts underway around the world range from high-tech subway systems to bicycling paths and walkways. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation.
Regarding “resiliency and adaptation” which we are lumping together here, the US Environmental Protection Agency tells us that: changing climate impacts society and ecosystems in a broad variety of ways. For example climate change can increase or decrease rainfall, influence agricultural crop yields, affect human health, cause changes to forests and other ecosystems, or even impact our energy supply. Climate-related impacts are occurring across regions of the country and across many sectors of our economy. Many state and local governments are already preparing for the impacts of climate change through “adaptation,” which is planning for the changes that are expected to occur.
Our friend Claudia, created the following info graphic, “Coping With Extreme Weather: A Survival Guide” which we think is relevant here! Also, our friends at Save the Children prepared a “disaster guide” to see how prepared US states are to address extreme water disasters. How prepared is your state?
As we face the reality of climate change, we must be as prepared as we can to deal with these changes. Building this resiliency must occur at the same time that we work together to put a stop to the policies, programs, products and practices that brought about these changes as we transition to a future that allows our planet to heal in a sustainable way for us all.