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Preparing for Climate Change

carteret_islands.jpgAll around the world, governments, businesses, nonprofits and people are working to minimize global climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere.

But just as a bicycle keeps moving after you start to brake, climate change doesn't halt the instant we act to slow it. That means that even while we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and figure out ways to sequester carbon, we also need to prepare for changes already underway.


One approach is to resist change - as Austrian ski resort owners have attempted to do by laying white plastic over glaciers to slow their melt.

Another is to increase our ability to roll with whatever punches climate change might throw - as engineers did when they designed a bridge between Prince Edward Island and mainland Canada with an extra meter of clearance to allow for rising seas.

Yet a third is to adjust our old activities to new realities, as Inuit hunters are doing by moving their huts in response to thawing ice - and Cateret Island residents are doing by preparing to move from their homeland to higher ground as the ocean rises.

Preparing to cope with climate change is not a substitute for cleaning up our carbon act. But it is an important complement as we both put on the brakes and ready ourselves for a warming world. Learn more about climate change adaptation underway around the world here.

Photo of Carteret Island residents by Pip Starr


Hooray for you for writing about this extremely important topic! I hope you will continue in this area. Despite media and government inertia and obliviousness, we all are or will be dealing with enormous changes.

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Recent Comments

  • Mary Hoff: Thanks! I appreciate the foresight of the individuals and communities read more
  • Paul Rosenblatt: Hooray for you for writing about this extremely important topic! read more

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Hoff published on May 20, 2011 1:04 PM.

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