By Rachel M. Gregg

Greetings and welcome to our first posting!

Climate change is now widely acknowledged as a global problem. Adaptation and mitigation are the two responses commonly taken to address actual and projected climate change impacts. Because the benefits of mitigation efforts may not be seen immediately, adaptation action has been encouraged by many, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). EcoAdapt’s mission is to build the field of adaptation by coordinating, magnifying, and making climate change adaptation capacity and resources more accessible to conservation and management professionals.

One of our major projects investigates different adaptation efforts in North America. We are conducting interviews and surveying people and groups who work in marine and coastal environments throughout the continent to determine what is being done and how. There are two major components to this project. One is to create a synthesis report of all of the different adaptation projects we discover; the second is to build an online Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) with our partners at Island Press to house the information we collect, provide case studies of projects and people, and link interested parties to the best available information on climate change adaptation. CAKE will help connect people engaged and/or interested in adaptation to communicate, share ideas, and collaborate with like-minded peers, and participate in a broader adaptation network.

EcoAdapt Tour 2009 - Where We've Been and Where We're Going
If our project sounds familiar, it might be because you've interacted with one of our team members, caught a presentation, or seen a poster or brochure at a meeting or conference this past summer. We've been all over both coasts of the United States (see list below) and we're planning on attending or creating more meetings and conferences in other U.S. states, as well as expanding our outreach efforts to our Canadian and Mexican neighbors.

Past EcoAdapt Appearances:
  • Climate Change and Adaptation Options for Cetaceans and Other Marine Biodiversity of the Eastern Pacific (Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica)
  • Adaptation 2009: Safeguarding Fish, Wildlife and Natural Systems in the Face of Climate Change
  • George Wright Society Biennial Conference: Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World
  • Conservation International Workshop, Recipes for Adaptation: Marine Management under Climate Change and Ocean Acidification (Arlington, Virginia)
  • International Marine Conservation Congress, Developing Practical and Innovative Strategies for Marine Climate Change Impacts Assessment and Management (Fairfax, Virginia)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Workshop, The Plight of Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: Impacts on Services, Interactions, and Responses (Seattle, Washington)
  • Oregon Shores Conference, Coastal Climate Action (Newport, Oregon)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Federation Second Meeting of the Workgroup on Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (Arlington, Virginia)
  • Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Conservation Boot Camp (La Jolla, California)
  • Coastal Zone 2009, Revolutionary Times: Catching the Wave of Change (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Wilburforce Alaska Climate Change Workshops (Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska)
  • Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Ecological Society of America Meeting (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
  • Land Trust Alliance Rally (Portland, Oregon)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges Town Hall Meeting (Okefenokee, Georgia)
  • Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation's conference (Portland, Oregon)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/National Wildlife Federation Webinar: "Adapting Conservation and Management to Climate Change: An Overview"

Results so far....

The most rewarding aspect of this project so far is that it has generated a significant amount of interest from a variety of groups and individuals, which seems to reflect the level of interest about climate change adaptation in general. From the contacts that we have made, we have generated a lot of interest in our organization, climate change, adaptation projects, and the project. It has also been interesting as we talk with interviewees to learn that there is a great deal of confusion about what adaptation really is. In many cases, interviewees have either identified their traditional work as adaptation, confused mitigation and adaptation, or dismissed their projects as not being adaptation. There is clearly a great lack of clarity in the area of adaptation for most conservation practitioners.

Time line
We are busily engaged in interviews and sending surveys out to potential participants. We're aiming for a Summer 2010 parallel release of the synthesis report and launch of CAKE.

EcoAdapt Wants You!

1. Contribute information

We will be collecting details on current, ongoing, and proposed adaptation projects in North America by conducting interviews and surveys. We invite you to share this information by contacting us to schedule an interview at adaptationsurvey@ecoadapt.org or by filling out and/or forwarding on the following
survey to your organization's climate change contact. The survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes. By participating in this process, you will provide critical input that will be extremely helpful in determining the status of climate change adaptation work in North America.

2. Participate in the network
In developing a network of individuals and groups interested and engaged in adaptation, we will create CAKE, which will provide a georeferenced database, advice columns, bulletin boards, and more to encourage partnerships and knowledge sharing. If you are interested in contributing or participating, please either visit our online survey or contact us at adaptationsurvey@ecoadapt.org.

3. Follow our progress right here!
We will update our progress regularly on this site.