Everything's Coming Up Roses
Dear Adaptation Mavens,
I've recently begun working in the Adirondacks on a project focused on climate change adaptation, aquatic connectivity, and transportation infrastructure. I'd love to connect with others in North America who are working on the implementation side of adaptation. Do you know of useful listservs, fora, meetings, etc.?
(CAKE member and Single Adaptationist In Search of Like-minded Experts)
When we created the Adaptation Mavens column we dreamed that someday someone would ask us for dating advice and I think this is as close as we’re likely to get. So thank you!
Being an adaptation practitioner can sometimes seem like a lonely venture. Your colleagues may not get what you’re trying to do, or not see the imperative that you can’t possibly ignore, and there are no tried and true methods that you can fall back on. But fear not, you are not alone and there is no need for you to be lonely. There’s a growing community of fun, friendly and helpful adaptationists, and we’re always happy to welcome new recruits.
There are some existing resources out there for you to tap into, as well as some ways you might be able to start your own local support effort.
1) CAKE! You’re already there. One of CAKE’s raisons d'être is to help the adaptation-interested find and support each other. CAKE can help in many ways. You can put up a specific plea in our discussion forum, as some have already done (http://www.cakex.org/content/looking-others-my-region-michigan-working-adaptation-plans). You could use the map feature of our georeferenced database to find people near you working on adaptation, either with the directory or by looking for people associated with relevant library items or case studies. In your case you want people anywhere in North America working on adaptation implementation, so you’ve got another option: looking for people currently implementing projects.
Let us show you how to do this:
Visit a case study you know is in the implementation phase. I happen to know that the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is implementing! Scroll down to the blue text that says “Project Implementation Keywords.” Click on the arrow to the left and open the keywords box. Under “Effort Stage” it say “In Progress.” Yippee! They are implementing. Click on “In Progress.” This will take you to the wonderful world of implementors! All of these case studies are in action. Granted some are plans that have been created but many are on the ground activity. It gives you a place to start.
2) There are a number of regional or sectoral efforts that include links to adaptation-relevant people, groups, or case studies. NOAA’s Coast Climate Adaptation portal has a wealth of resources including case studies. The Climate Change Collaboration in the Pacific Northwest (an ad hoc group of primarily federal agencies) has been inventorying regional climate change efforts in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Some of NOAA’s Regional Integrated Science Assessment groups have created lists of case studies, such as the Climate Impact Group’s database of activities. North of the border, Natural Resources Canada has a number of adaptation case studies as well as links to regional adaptation collaboratives.
3) The Georgetown Climate Center’s Adaptation Clearinghouse has links to relevant organizations, policy documents, and other resources. It’s particularly strong on policy and governance, so you could find federal and state governmental actions that are afoot and you can find people or contact information associated with them.
4) Online groups. The Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals and NOAA’s Sea Grant program both have on-line communities of practice, and there are a variety of regional communities of practice around the continent (e.g. the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources’ adaptation CoP: http://www.climateontario.ca/p_ccac.php).
5) There are plenty of listservs out there, most of which have some specific constituency based on geography or interest. In your neck of the woods, for example, there’s New York’s Climate Smart Communities listserv.
We know, we know, none of this is as good as a mixer for the lonely adaptationist. Here is some do-it-yourself mingling.
Option 1: The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, Climate Science Centers and Regional Integrated Science and Assessment outposts—find them. They all have mandates to engage people regionally (in the case of the LCCs, this includes parts of Canada and Mexico) around climate and adaptation issues. Many are convening groups grappling with specific issues. Many provide funding for adaptation activities and you may be able to convince one to create a contact group for adaptation exchange (note: federal readers might want to think about how this would be useful for your own work too!). Natural Resources Canada has established a number of Regional Adaptation Collaboratives that are good for those in the north or looking north. (Although if you’re in the “north”, you might not call it “the north”, rather it would be the “here” and we’d all be the south. Apologies to our friends in Canada and our provincial assumptions.)
Option 2: Consider the two adaptation practitioners societies. One is in development as we type, called the Association of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). Be on the look out for it as it develops, or contact CAKE member Steve Adams to get on his mailing list. The other is for corporate sustainability officers but with an interest in adaptation, known as ACCO (Association for Climate Change Officers). If you want something a little more focused, a number of professional societies not focused on climate adaptation have climate change interest groups (or maybe they’re just waiting for you to start one!)
Option 3: Attend an adaptation-focused meeting or training. Check CAKE’s events calendar for some good options. Better yet, help plan a regional or national adaptation forum, workshop, or training event! What better way to make friends than to work together on pulling together a meeting? There is a working group starting to create a National Adaptation Forum in early 2013 where adaptation practitioners can meet, share ideas and make connections to last a lifetime. Stayed tuned and the Mavens will tell you more as it develops. Or contact us if you want in on the excitement of making it happen!
Option 4: Take advantage of social media! There are currently two climate change adaptation meetup groups (http://climate-change-adaptation.meetup.com/), and there’s no reason you couldn’t start one for your neighborhood. There are also a number of adaptation-related Facebook pages and Linked in groups (although not necessarily North America focused)—you could look for one that suits your needs, or start you own.
Sadly there is no coffee shop or bar where the cool adaptation people hang out and talk about the important lessons they are learning. But we’re a young field. Give us time and we’ll be showing up everywhere and you’ll have no problem finding others to talk to. In the mean time, get out there and mingle!
Hopelessly Devoted to You,