If you’ve ever gotten caught up in where people stand on climate change, you might see that sometimes, they didn’t have to come up with such a strong dislike or position against understanding climate change. After all, many of us like and practice lifelong learning and hope that humans advance industry, science, arts, humanities, culinary arts, mathematics, natural world, technology, architecture, governance, anthropology, athletics, exploration and all our known and unknown capabilities. Maybe some advances will make your life easier, right?
Then, it shouldn’t surprise you that people who dismiss understanding climate change may not see it as an evolving understanding and one that doesn’t shut down when someone declares that ‘climate change is dead’ as boldly as stadium rock stars may proclaim that ‘rock and roll is dead.’ Climate change is not dead. Neither is it something that we can blame on any one contributor.
One of my favorite climate scientists is Gavin Schmidt. He explains that as humans, when we study climate change, we are looking to build skillful models of the climate and increase our capability to see the big picture of climate through these skillful models. This helps us see the complexity and magnitude of climate and climate change. First, you consider all of the processes involved in our climate. These processes include the sun, clouds, ice, wind, ocean currents, the role of vegetation, the role of urban areas, the role of cyclones, and any emergent patterns that we fail to consider until they arise. Each of these systems adds to the whole.
So if all of these systems add to the whole, then what can ‘kick the system’ into changes that we should want to understand? The kickers of the system include warbles in the earth’s orbit over hundreds of thousands of years, solar cycles, volcanoes, biomass burning, man-made and natural smoke, man-made and natural aerosol particles, the ozone hole, deforestation, contrails, and yes, greenhouse gases. These kickers provide us targets to evaluate the system so we can develop skillful models and a better understanding of our climate and the changes that result from these kickers.
As the understanding of climate change continues, many theories have emerged on how people can reduce the impact of climate change. Some of the solutions seem difficult to implement and others seem prohibitively expensive for most people with an educated interest in the topic that affects us all.
It’s the reason that EbA is gaining ground in various parts of the world. EbA is ecosystem-based adaptation. It is a strategy of coping with climate change so that people can respond to our understanding of climate change. EbA is defined as reducing the impacts of climate change through the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems. It’s one of the reasons why some of the people chronicled in our project are focused on these types of conservation and restoration efforts, as well as conservation efforts done “as usual” for the benefit of our societies. As people learn more about the ecosystems and the natural world, they begin to explore impacts on us and our lives, as well as getting a deeper appreciation of the benefits to our well-being and appreciation of the environment. All of our natural systems provide additional benefits besides climate adaptation, such as all the benefits that people get from nature as it enhances our well-being.
EbA solutions are also often much more cost-effective than hard-engineered solutions that you may read about in your research or reading. EbA solutions include the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
Additionally, when we consider the purposes of ecosystem management broadly, and our role in usual conservation efforts like creek cleanup activities, or helping plant more forests, we also strive to enhance ecological resilience and facilitate natural adaptation processes. Then, these ecosystems can adapt to unanticipated environmental changes and continue to deliver anticipated services and benefits to our communities when not left neglected or destroyed. The interaction between our air and our ecosystems benefit us and affect us all. While some communities will target EbA projects to conserve diversity, others target EbA projects to provide ecosystem climate buffers or enhance the resilience of an ecosystem through projects that improve the land use.
Using nature’s own defense characteristics to reduce the vulnerability of people and capital is an essential component of climate-resilient development and is being studied and discussed at various conferences, including the most recent 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Korea. Natural capital is sometimes the only capital that large communities depend on, while it serves recreational and cultural purposes for many other cultures. Multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approaches are being developed. Integrated management of land, water and living resources helps farmers and rural communities adapt their communities to help reduce the impact of climate change. EbA programs evaluate regions around the world, then characterize them by their particular vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Many of these regions are endowed with ecosystems that provide a multitude of communities and economic activities. This dependence can be adapted through sustainable ecosystem management.
Simultaneously, conservation efforts and restoration efforts that are worked on “as usual” in various communities complement and improve our communities to bring rewards and benefits that come from ecosystem management and dedicated land conservation to highlight the benefits they bring to each community.
As our understanding of climate change deepens, our efforts through nature clubs, nature studies and environmental and physical sciences help us appreciate the complexities of our relationships with the natural world around us and how we can adapt to changes.