Summer is here (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), and the Mavens' advice is that you settle in with a cool beverage and a good read. If you don’t know what to read, you might enjoy some of these:
Do long days at the shore have you worry more than usual about sea level rise? Well, you might want to read Runting et al.'s Does more mean less? The value of information for conservation planning under sea level rise.
We love this paper because it shows how to make an informed decision
about whether it’s worth doing any of that fancy modeling stuff before
making a decision. Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the decision
you’re making and the data and resources available. But it WAS
surprising how much of your budget it can be worth investing in models
if the conditions are right.
If you’re still thinking about last month’s advice column and our
talk about the meaning of throwing the ball in baseball, then you might
enjoy a deeper dive into such thinking with Vogel et al.'s Linking vulnerability, adaptation and resilience science to practice: Players, pathways and partnerships.
The paper behind a big aha moment, namely that if you’re a scientist
interested in science that gets used, it’s often more effective to ask
potential users what they do, not what they need to know. Asking “what
you need to know” often takes people into a strategic frame of thinking
that may or may not be related to the actual decisions or decision
processes that they have to engage in for their work.
If the lazy days of summer have you thinking slowly and stymied by
what to do with your day, let alone what to do about climate change,
then you might find assistance in Hammond et al.'s Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions.
People sometimes complain that there’s more adaptation talk than
action. In part, this is because taking action means making a decision,
and making decisions can be hard for all kinds of reasons. This
delightful book shows how to combine analysis and deliberation to make
better decisions, and provides a framework for documenting your thought
process. The authors are leaders in the field, but the book is a quick
and easy, yet informative read. If you want a more academic and
conservation-oriented but still excellent decision making book, check
out Gregory et al.'s Structured Decision Making: A Practical Guide to Environmental Management Choices.
The White House did you a public service and put out some summer
adaptation reading. If you’re interested in learning about the
adaptation ambitions of the federal government, check out the middle
section of the President’s Climate Action Plan
called “Prepare the United States for the Impact of Climate Change.” A
nice companion reference is an EcoAdapt and partners report commissioned
by the MacArthur Foundation to assess the State of Adaptation in the United States.
We know that you don’t always have time to read a book, presidential
decree or article, so while away a little time with a case study! We
suggest one of our all-time favorites because it discusses an action
that we’re hoping will start a trend to incorporate climate change into
water quality decision-making everywhere. So if you’re down by the lake
(or river or seashore), check out Incorporating Climate Change into TMDL Decisions for Lake Champlain. A great example of someone saying “hey, shouldn’t you be considering climate change in this decision?”
But summer isn’t all adaptation all the time. What do we read when
we’re not reading about adaptation? In addition to various trashy novels
we prefer not to name, we’re reading a few things we can talk about. A
great book called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
It’s a fascinating story on many levels—great scientific breakthroughs,
race identity and race relations, the long fight for protections for
human research subjects in the United States (hint: it wasn’t until
almost 1970 that U.S. courts suggested the Nuremberg Code of ethics
should apply to scientific research in the United States), and the gap
between what’s obvious to specialists vs. the general public. Another
great book in our beach bag this summer is Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome.
Yep, it’s children’s literature but Ransome was a literary genius who
wrote 12 books in a series known as Swallows and Amazons. They are
fantastic adventures that have kids out of the house and sailing across
lakes…even in the winter. This cold weather volume could be your respite
from the summer heat.
We’re also reading Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver’s
tale of the manifestations of climate change. If you want to read about
how to be part of the solution rather than dwelling on the problem,
consider her previous offering Animal, Vegetable, Miracle—the book that got the Mavens consolidated in the Pacific Northwest, where summer means ample berries and long, long days.
Remember while you’re outside reading to use plenty of sunscreen,
sport a floppy hat and wear some UV protective eyewear. We’ll see you
back at work in the Fall!
 For those of you in the southern hemisphere, consider this a winter holiday reading list. It’ll be just as fun.