Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Check out the Adaptation Mavens' Summer Reading List!

Summer is here (for those of us in the northern hemisphere[1]), 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.

Photo Credit: Ed BrownThe 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


Photo Credit: Travisleehardin via Wikimedia CommonsWe 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.
Winter Holiday
 
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!

Adaptively yours,
The Mavens

[1] For those of you in the southern hemisphere, consider this a winter holiday reading list. It’ll be just as fun.