Adapting to Climate Change in the Coming Years
As many have come to realize, climate change is an inevitable prospect in our changing world and a complex issue we have not fully comprehended.
Climate-related disasters increased by 83%, from 3,656 incidents between 1980 and 1999 to 6,681 incidents from 2000 to 2020. However, the dangers go beyond extreme weather events battering communities and wreaking havoc.
While several movements aim to raise awareness about critical environmental issues, and politics continues to bridge the divide between constituents and bring policy changes, it’s time we begin facing the reality of adaptation above and beyond mitigation.
Measuring Climate Change
To develop a series of feasible adaptation measures, scientists must first understand how and where climate change occurs the fastest. Because planetary changes happen over several years – sometimes decades and centuries – modern instruments offer clues of climate emergencies.
Many types of scientists study climate change, including marine biologists and oceanographers, physicists, biologists, chemists, and geologists. Here are some of the various ways scientists deepen their understanding of our warming planet:
- Dendrochronologists study tree rings and growth to learn about a specific area’s temperature and precipitation patterns throughout the tree’s lifespan.
- Marine scientists study coral bleaching events and disease outbreaks in past oceanic climates and predict future warming trends.
- Chemists may use ocean absorbance measurement spectrometers to determine carbon dioxide levels caused by greenhouse gasses.
- Research scientists may simulate Arctic sea ice melting to project various climate-related scenarios and the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere.
Scientists play a crucial role in collecting data to enhance public knowledge about climate change and global warming. According to a recent study published by Pew Research Center, 72% of respondents feared climate change would harm them directly. In comparison, 80% were willing to make significant lifestyle changes to mitigate impacts.
In a way, environmentally-conscious, lifestyle changes are a way society acclimates. Scientific research boosts our awareness and paves the way for adaptation initiatives that work.
Accepting Adaptation to a Changing Planet
Public acceptance and participation are essential to limit global warming and meet adaptation goals. The stark reality is climate change is going to continue to challenge the way we live, in addition to hindering accessibility to the things we need to survive.
In the end, widespread acceptance requires individuals face the potentially dire consequences of their actions. The European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT suggests several ways global populations can accept adaptation, including:
- Taking responsibility for impacts, such as those brought on by rising sea levels.
- Counterbalancing losses with insurance.
- Reduce climate change risk exposure by building new flood protections or migrating away from flood zones.
- Finding ways to alter our way of living to conform to the changing climate and mitigate its effects.
Lifestyle Changes to Help You Adapt
Combatting climate change is virtually impossible for one person to take on. Many scientists agree we’re beyond slowing global warming. If you’re wondering how you can make a difference singlehandedly, there isn’t a straightforward answer.
Regardless, small changes in the way you live can positively impact the effects, especially if society collectively made eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Even though it’ll take radical modifications and policies to mitigate climate change, there are still things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. For example:
- Cut back on vehicle emissions by driving less and opt for walking, biking, or public transportation.
- Beat plastic pollution by using reusable products, such as utensils, plates, cups, and grocery bags.
- Lessen your intake of red meat, which accounts for 65% of livestock emissions worldwide.
- Shop locally and for products sold by eco-friendly companies practicing green manufacturing.
- Invest in companies focused on renewable energy.
- Get involved in politics to demand more robust climate change adaptation policies and mitigation measures.
Climate Change: An Unstoppable Force
While it may be impossible to prevent climate change from occurring, we can accept it’s happening and, therefore, live in a way that promotes the planet’s ecological health.
Start by making small changes in your life and encourage others to do the same.
Author bio: Jane Marsh works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co.