is for Ameliorate.Are you acting to Ameliorate existing and likely future effects of climate change? In other words, are you doing your work in a way that takes into account the reality of climate change? If not, your work may be at risk. Actions to ameliorate the effects of climate change can include reducing or counteracting changes (for example, enhancing riparian zone vegetation to help limit rising stream temperatures), reducing the negative effects of changes (for example, including both current and likely future habitat in critical habitat designations for endangered species), or correcting for changes (for example, incorporating sea level rise into a bridge elevation).
is for Buying Time.Are you Buying time for your work and for the natural systems we all care about? While we can’t completely stop climate change, we can at least buy time for species, systems , and our own organizations to respond effectively. For example, species can often adapt evolutionarily to new conditions if they have sufficient time and genetic variability; if we can maintain diverse populations or slow the rate of change, we may buy time for an evolutionarily adaptive response. Similarly, plant and animal communities are often able to accommodate change by shifting location to track appropriate conditions (e.g. shifting inland as sea level rises), assuming that change is slow enough and there is room for communities to move. If we maintain landscape connectivity and slow the rate of change, we buy time for communities to move. When it comes to our own work, do our plans incorporate how conditions might change over time, and provide space and time for us to adapt your approaches? If we are not planning for the future, we will almost certainly fall short of our goals as real world conditions work against past ideals.
is for Continuity, Connectivity and Creativity.
Does the work have Continuity and Connectivity with the world around it? Are you thinking Creatively? Wow, C is a big letter for adaptation! Just as it is important to plan for the Change across landscapes and seascapes by including continuity and connectivity, it is also important to change the way you plan by getting more creative to deal with the fact that what we used to believe worked may not anymore! As D.J. Sauchyn and Surin Kulshreshtha wrote, “We have options, but the past is not one of them.”
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