Adaptation: Something for Everyone

By Natalie Ambrosio, Research Assistant, ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assesment

Outdoor adventures; fine wine; reading on the couch. The thread that ties these all together is the role they can play in adapting society to climate change. Adaptation goes far beyond preparing for sea level rise or other disasters and that’s what makes it exciting. Every sector has a need for creative thinking that leads to adaptation action.

The historic Cape Lookout Lighthouse in North Carolina, has stood tall through Civil War battles and inclement weather since 1859. Yet now coastal erosion and other climate-related changes threaten this tall brick landmark. Historical buildings and landscapes hold important value both for tourism revenue and cultural impact. A currently little-explored field, researching the preservation of cultural sites is an exciting opportunity to adapt to a changing climate.

California winery owners are getting their creative juices flowing as they adapt to warmer weather with less water. Gopher, voles, swallows and moles are increasingly abundant in warmer weather and falconers are becoming common sites at many vineyards, as owners try to fight pests sustainably. From barn owl boxes hosting predators at all hours to sensors that monitor vine sap levels to determine how much water the plant needs, a variety of innovations are allowing vineyards to become more efficient, saving resources and maintaining profit.

Authors around the world have been writing about climate change for years and their imaginative, though-provoking and frightening visions are a wake-up call for adaptation action. Cli-fi is the relatively new term for this genre, involving the violence, chaos and misery of post climate-change water wars, the more subtle story of a city whose treasured local butterfly population is threatened and various other tales, appealing to emotion and human condition in a way that CO2 graphs never will.

By taking a moment to ponder our passions, whether they be athletic, aesthetic, academic or anything in between, everyone can find a connection to climate adaptation and an opportunity to be part of a solution.