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The ClimateReady Podcast: Adapting to Climate Change & Uncertainty
36 minutes | 4 months ago
Coping with Climate: Climate Grief and Adaptation
Regardless of whether or not you realize it, the climate crisis may be taking a toll on your mental well-being. Combine that with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturns, and social distancing measures, and it’s easy to see that mental health may be more important now than ever. But for these pervasive problems with no simple solutions, how are we supposed to move past our anxiety or grief? In this episode of ClimateReady, we are joined by clinical social worker and psychotherapist, Andrew Bryant. Andrew sat down to discuss the work he’s been doing for nearly a decade to help people understand the psychological impacts of climate change and develop strategies to regain their sense of agency. He explains the idea of “radical acceptance” and lays out a four-step approach for empowering ourselves to respond to the complex emotions resulting from the climate crisis, and highlights tools available through his Climate and Mind website (www.climateandmind.org). Many of the lessons he shares can also be applied to dealing with anxiety relating to the current pandemic as well. Following the interview, we continue the ongoing “Climate of Hope” segment in partnership with the World Youth Parliament for Water. Lynn Porta of the North American Youth Parliament for Water discusses her graduate research in transboundary water management and international treaties, and how the trends she sees around cooperation and adaptability give her room for hope.
29 minutes | 9 months ago
Old Solutions, New Problems: Indigenous Adaptation in Peru
Modern hydrology and engineering have solved some tremendous problems, allowing societies to expand and thrive in regions once considered too difficult to inhabit. With more people, more complicated economies, and more variability and extremes from climate impacts, engineering our way out of water challenges seems harder, more expensive, and less reliable. Maybe solutions from the past can become new again? In this episode of ClimateReady, we examine how traditional, indigenous knowledge and nature-based solutions (NbS) can complement modern approaches. Dr. Boris Ochoa-Tocachi of Imperial College London joins the show to discuss the work he is doing with rural communities in the Andes of Peru, using pre-Columbian technology such as amunas and NbS like bofedales alongside modern water storage and conveyance methods, to help provide water security for local communities as well as Greater Lima and its nearly 10 million inhabitants, all while avoiding the traps of “parachute science.” Following the interview, we hear a different perspective from Peru in our “Climate of Hope” segment. María Angélica Villasante Villafuerte and Hernan Tello, both members of Peruvian Youth Against Climate Change, discuss their work to increase youth involvement in local and national decision making around climate change to achieve an intergenerational transfer of good practices and lessons learned.
40 minutes | 10 months ago
Sparking Change: What We Can Learn from Australia’s Catastrophic Bushfires
With our daily lives inundated with news and anxiety around the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, it’s easy to forget another major story from just a few months ago. The Australian bushfire season of 2019-2020 has garnered global attention. People all around the world were shocked by stories of massive wildlife loss, charred landscapes, destroyed homes and businesses, and displaced communities. But now that the fires have gone out, what have we learned? To hear how these fires impacted the country’s ecosystems, people, and politics, we turn to two colleagues from southeastern Australia. Dr. Jamie Pittock is a professor at Australian National University (www.anu.edu.au/), while Dr. Emma Carmody — a previous guest on ClimateReady — works at the Environmental Defenders Office (www.edo.org.au/). Jamie and Emma talk us through the wide-ranging impacts of this season’s bushfires. We hear how climate change, ongoing drought, and specific governance and management policies all worked in conjunction to feed the conditions for such devastating fires. We pay particular attention to the short- and long-term impacts on freshwater ecosystems and wildlife before turning to ways in which the tragedy may lead to positive behavioral and policy changes. For listeners interested in helping the ecosystems and people harmed by Australia’s bushfires, we are including a list of some great organizations recommended by Jamie and Emma. You can make donations and find out more about their work using the links below: - For strategic and science-based wildlife conservation projects – WWF Australia (http://bit.ly/3bdXjnF) - For a particular freshwater wildlife conservation – Aussie Ark Turtle Project (http://bit.ly/392BaqW) - For people, for short term relief – Country Women’s Association (http://bit.ly/3a7epTV) - For other strategic projects – Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (http://bit.ly/33At9sa)
28 minutes | 10 months ago
Utilities of the Future, Today: How Public Utilities are Pioneering Climate-Smart Infrastructure
We count on public utilities to provide services integral to everyday life. When we turn on the tap or flip a light switch, the assumption is that water will run and rooms will light up. But as the climate changes and cities continue to grow at a breakneck pace, what can utilities do to continue to provide these essential services? Is there a way to avoid overexploiting natural resources while keeping ratepayers happy? For insight into climate-smart development, we look to the pioneering efforts of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in the U.S. state of California. On this episode of ClimateReady, we’ll hear from three SFPUC representatives: Mike Brown, Sarah Minick, and Karri Ving. They describe the ways in which SFPUC is utilizing — and financing — nature-based “green” infrastructure to reinforce and supplement their existing systems in order to provide water, wastewater, and power services to millions of customers in a region highly vulnerable to climate change. In the second part of the discussion, we hear how SFPUC is financing these innovative projects - totaling over US$1.4 billion - through the use of the world’s first certified climate bonds dedicated to water infrastructure. Following the interview, we wrap up with another installment of “Climate of Hope” in partnership with the World Youth Parliament for Water. Karan Gajare, a civil engineer from India pursuing a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering through an Erasmus Mundus program, shares a success story of a small village taking big steps to adapt to and mitigate climate change in his native India (full story at http://bit.ly/38tc9F7).
33 minutes | a year ago
Picking Your Climate Battles: When Is Managed Retreat the Best Option?
What happens when climate change renders our homes and communities uninhabitable? Can we maintain our deep place-based connections from afar? As climate change and sea level rise threaten coastal communities, we’re forced to grapple with the fact that not all places will be livable in the not-so-distant future. Following extreme weather events, conversations tend to focus on how to build back. But should we always build back? Who decides? The concept of strategic managed retreat — although controversial — is slowly making its way into the mainstream as a viable, and necessary, adaptation option for many communities threatened by mounting climate impacts. In this episode of ClimateReady, we hear from Dr. A.R. Siders as she makes the case for strategic and managed retreat as an opportunity to focus on the long-term well-being of coastal and floodplain communities and the lands they call home (http://bit.ly/2RIqRBC). Retreat is not an adaptation solution for every context. But when done in a purposeful, coordinated manner coupled with community involvement, it offers the potential for minimizing risks while avoiding the pitfalls of ad hoc displacement following disasters - a fate that often disproportionately affects poor and marginalized communities with the fewest resources to rebuild or relocate. We discuss the cultural barriers and social justice implications of the approach, and lots more, in this wide-ranging interview. The show concludes with a “Climate of Hope” story as we hear from our youngest guest ever. Austin Matthews, the son of ClimateReady’s producer, describes what it’s like to be a ten-year-old facing the looming threat of climate change and some of the reasons for his optimism facing the challenge.
28 minutes | a year ago
Lessons from Chiloé, Chile: Transforming Natural Resource Governance Amid Environmental Change
Environmental change is not occurring in isolation, especially for communities and groups who may live close to and depend very directly on local ecosystems for their livelihoods and economic wellbeing. Climate change in most places is occurring in conjunction with cultural shifts, political reorganization, and globalizing economic impacts. While economic, environmental, and social change tended to happen gradually in the past, many regions are now struggling with managing a bewildering array of forces, many of which they have little control over, forcing difficult decisions whose implications may be hard to manage much less foresee. Governance — especially around management of natural resources — must evolve in order to better address the interests of a growing number of stakeholders in increasingly complex socio-environmental systems. In this episode of ClimateReady, we bring in environmental anthropologist Dr. Sarah Ebel to discuss an ongoing example of transformative governance in Chile. Drawing on nearly a decade of work with coastal fishing communities, Dr. Ebel describes how legislative changes to Chile’s fisheries management plans and a rare shift towards “polycentric governance” have impacted local fishermen, indigenous groups, the aquaculture industry, and the environment — topics she further covers in the book "Chiloé" (http://bit.ly/chiloe-book). We also discuss the role of “individual agency” in our quest towards resilience and much more. The show concludes with another “Climate of Hope” story as part of an ongoing collaboration with the World Youth Parliament for Water, where Alex Whitebrook highlights encouraging trends from China’s industrial and agricultural sectors.
27 minutes | a year ago
Rewriting History: From Bad Math to Reasons for Optimism on the Colorado River
The story of water management in the Western United States is epitomized by the Colorado River. Water managers in the early twentieth century set up structures and policies that would have implications for tens of millions of users across multiple states and countries — and all based upon faulty math. How have the systems and infrastructure along the Colorado River impacted development? How is climate change coming into play? And are there reasons for hope that the story of conflict and mismanagement can become a story of cooperation? In this episode of ClimateReady we are joined by John Fleck, a renowned author, science journalist, and Director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program. We cover a range of topics relating to the Colorado River from transboundary management, to balancing competing water demands, to the role of storytelling in developing good water governance. All of this and more can be found in his new book “Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River” (https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/science-be-dammed). We wrap up with another “Climate of Hope” story as part of an ongoing collaboration with the World Youth Parliament for Water. Juliane Schillinger talks about the growing voice of scientists in political movements as a result of the climate crisis and the benefits of stepping out of the “ivory tower.”
23 minutes | a year ago
Live from COP25: Quenching the Thirst of Climate Adaptation
This special episode of ClimateReady was taped live at the ongoing UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid, Spain. Ingrid and a special co-host, the Executive Director of AGWA, have a conversation with colleagues from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The four of them talk about the integral role of water in climate change solutions and actions as well as a newly launched background paper on water prepared for the Global Commission on Adaptation (www.adaptationsthirst.org). To watch the Facebook Live video interview, visit http://bit.ly/CR-COP25. The episode concludes with our “Climate of Hope” segment in partnership with the World Youth Parliament for Water. Stephanie Woodworth highlights the impact that climate change is having on the environment and communities where she lives, and the work being done with local youth that gives her hope.
34 minutes | a year ago
Urban Adaptation: The City Water Resilience Approach
As cities continue to grow, increasing demands are being placed on urban water systems. Climate change and other unprecedented stressors will exacerbate the challenges related to cities' climate security in the decades to come. How can cities learn to build resilience, and do so in an equitable manner involving a wide range of stakeholders? For this episode of ClimateReady, we hit the road to conduct live interviews during World Water Week in Stockholm in 2019. Keeping in line with the conference’s theme of “Water for Society: Including All,” we spoke with representatives of the ongoing City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA) project. The approach is designed to coordinate policies, investments, and operations by using water as the connective tissue for resilient action, often across a number of cities that form a single urban landscape. We were joined by two members of the CWRA team from the global engineering firm Arup, Mr. Martin Shouler and Ms. Louise Ellis. Then to hear how the resilience approach is being put into practice in one of its pilot cities, we spoke with Mr. Hardeep Anand of the Miami Dade Water & Sewer Department in the US state of Florida, a city which is seeing quite significant climate impacts already. We wrap up with another “Climate of Hope” story as part of an ongoing collaboration with the World Youth Parliament for Water. Joyce Mendez of the Climate Reality Project in Brazil and the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research covers the ways in which climate change can serve as an opportunity for significant global governance changes as part of a more inclusive future. Links: https://www.resilienceshift.org/campaign/city-water-resilience-approach/ https://www.arup.com/perspectives/city-water-resilience-approach
27 minutes | a year ago
AI for Adaptation: Addressing Climate Challenges with Data Science
Climate change is the preeminent problem of the 21st century. Why not address it with 21st century solutions? While still in development, advances in data science — specifically around big data and AI — offer new and valuable tools for climate adaptation. How is this being deployed and who is leading the charge? In the Season 3 premiere of ClimateReady, we are joined by Paul Fleming, Corporate Water Program Manager for Microsoft (microsoft.com/environment). We discuss some of the reasons why a company known primarily for computer software is leading groundbreaking developments for water management related to climate change. Paul discusses the potential for big data and AI with respect to utilities and smarter water management. We also hear about the CEO Water Mandate initiative (ceowatermandate.org) and the expanding role of the private sector in addressing the century’s greatest environmental and sustainable development challenges. Following our main interview, we introduce a new segment to the show. Underlying all of our work around climate adaptation is a sense of optimism. We can (and must!) create more resilient systems and societies. To support this idea, we are featuring short personal reflections about a “Climate of Hope.” The episode closes out with a story from Nureen Anisha, an AGWA Research Fellow and graduate student, speaking of efforts in her native Bangladesh that give her hope for the future.
44 minutes | a year ago
Special Episode - Postcards From The Future
In this special episode of ClimateReady, we take a look back at last season’s “Postcards from the Future.” In these segments, we ask what the world may look like in the face of a changing climate. Guests offer up a range of possibilities, each providing a different take on the problems and — more importantly — the solutions we as a society can take to become more ClimateReady. Whether you’re new to the show or an avid listener, we think you’ll enjoy hearing from all of the insightful “Postcard” contributors: John Matthews (1:30), Stephanie Lyons (9:04), Kathryn Pharr (13:39), Ingrid Timboe (16:22), Al Meghji (21:27), Elizabeth Rush (25:24), Alan Hesse (27:57), Danielle Neighbour (32:00), and Dr. Raha Hakimdavar (37:15). Season 3 of ClimateReady is coming soon. Make sure to subscribe to stay up to date as new episodes are released!
31 minutes | 2 years ago
What the Heck Is Resilience? Moving Words into Practice
Sustainable development has been the guiding principle for meeting today’s needs without compromising the future of our planet. But what happens when the pace of change outpaces sustainable development practices? And how can we adequately plan for development when the future is increasingly uncertain? Often we use the term “resilience” in the context of climate adaptation but, perhaps artfully, we also often leave the word undefined. Resilience is a value, a goal, an ethic, and a principle intended to lead to action. Resilience-based approaches to adaptation and sustainable development are gaining more traction in recent years as ways to help communities, governments, and development organizations adapt, transform, and thrive in the face of change. In this episode of ClimateReady—the final one of Season 2—we finally take a deep dive into this resilience thread that runs through almost all of our stories around climate and water. Dr. Nate Matthews of the Global Resilience Partnership (http://www.globalresiliencepartnership.org/) joins the show to discuss the principles behind the concept, the systemic changes involved, and the evolving relationships between donors, practitioners, and the private sector. Following our main interview, we close out with a poetic story as our “Postcard from the Future.” Dr. Raha Hakimdavar, a Hydrologist at the US Forest Service, reflects on the cultural and personal significance of water, and an important but often forgotten impact of climate change. A full version of her poem is available at https://unfccc.int/documents/184122.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
Microscopes for Microphones: Bringing Science into Adaptation Policy
Each year climate negotiators gather for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties, or COP, to discuss how to address climate change. But how does science inform climate policy? Is climate policy actually based in science? Should technical professionals become involved in climate policy? If so, how? In this episode of ClimateReady, we bring in two people neck deep in climate and water policy despite having largely technical backgrounds. AGWA’s Coordinator, Dr. John Matthews, interviews the Director of IUCN’s Global Water Program, Dr. James Dalton, about the need for technical perspectives in the world of policy. Together, a biologist and an engineer discuss the challenges of entering a fast-paced arena that sometimes requires compromise and generalizations and the means by which interested (especially young) professionals can enter the fray. Following their conversation, we hear a “Postcard from the Future” that takes us to Beijing in 2050. Danielle Neighbour of the China Environment Forum at the Wilson Center highlights the benefits of coordinated water recycling for addressing water security in urban and rural settings. You can learn more about IUCN's Global Water Program at https://www.iucn.org/theme/water and the China Environment Forum at https://www.wilsoncenter.org/program/china-environment-forum.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
What Would Hammurabi Do? Adaptive Governance and Climate Change
Civilizations have always depended on water. It’s no surprise, then, that laws pertaining to water and water governance have been around for thousands of years. All of that experience shows how difficult it is to govern water well. Climate change compounds these challenges. In this episode of ClimateReady, we look at multiple scales of water law through the example of a single river basin — from local allocation issues to national policies to international conventions. We are joined by Dr. Emma Carmody, an environmental lawyer for the Environmental Defenders Office of New South Wales and an expert in governance for the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. Emma also lends her expertise as a legal advisor for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. We discuss Australia’s influential Water Act, the need to adapt policies in light of climate change, and the role of broader international agreements in driving local and national environmental policy. Following the main interview, we have a “Postcard from the Future” sent by Alan Hesse, a cartoonist, freelance conservationist, and creator of the upcoming “Polo the Bear” comic on climate change. Alan draws attention to the important and often undervalued relationship between science and the arts. You can find out more about Emma’s work with EDO in the Murray-Darling at http://bit.ly/edo-nsw or https://www.edonsw.org.au. For information on Alan’s upcoming comic book due early 2019, visit www.millgatehouse.co.uk.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
A High Probability of Uncertainty: How Do We Plan with Unknowns?
Nobody has data from the future - it hasn’t happened yet. But for centuries we’ve assumed that the past can predict the future. What if it can’t anymore? Will engineers and planners become consumed by inaction and climate uncertainty? Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) is a new five-step water resources planning framework that helps address deep uncertainties associated with climatic, demographic and land-use change. CRIDA tackles the hardest part of climate adaptation: those times we need a hard number as engineers and economists, especially in parts of the world where may not have access to much data. In this episode of ClimateReady, we are joined by three of the lead authors behind the recently-released publication. Drs. Guillermo Mendoza, Ad Jeuken, and John Matthews each lend their perspectives on how an engineer, a climate scientist, and an ecologist (respectively) came together to create a new vision of resilience in water management planning and decision making. The CRIDA publication and additional resources are available at http://agwaguide.org/CRIDA. The guidebook is a co-publication of UNESCO IHP and the Integrated Center for International Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), a UNESCO center in the United States.
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Fight or Flight: Coastal Community Adaptation
In 2017 nearly 10 percent of U.S. citizens were affected by major disasters. Hurricane Harvey that year was estimated to have resulted in more than $120 billion alone to southeastern Texas. After a tradition of coastal management that paved over wetlands, channelized floodplains, and pushed poor communities into low-lying areas, many coastal communities now also experience sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and increasingly severe weather. In this episode of ClimateReady, we bring in author, professor, and photographer Elizabeth Rush to discuss her latest book "Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore" (https://milkweed.org/book/rising). We interview Elizabeth to find out more about vulnerable coastal communities around the United States — from New York to Louisiana to California. In Rising, climate change is no longer a problem of the future but an imminent threat. Through poignant stories, we hear how communities handle these realities on their own terms. Following our main interview, we asked Elizabeth to read an excerpt from her book that would be especially relevant for our listeners. She examines the complexities around “risk” and arrives at some really insightful conclusions about how perceptions are shifting over time. --- Elizabeth Rush's website: http://elizabethrush.net/
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Ensuring Adaptation: Nature-Based Solutions to Reducing Risk
Infrastructure or ecosystems? Nature or economic development? Historically, those have been the tensions expressed about investing how we innovate, grow economies, reduce the impact of disasters, and alleviate poverty relative to preserving natural systems and ecological integrity. Climate adaptation has shifted the terms of this long-standing debate. Traditional gray infrastructure is harder to design and maintain to be resilient. Nature-based solutions (NbS) work better in some situations, such as when we need more flexibility or face higher levels of uncertainty. Is a middle ground appearing? In this episode of the ClimateReady Podcast, we bring in Dr. Elena Lopez Gunn to discuss her leadership to study, demonstrate, and ultimately quantify the insurance value of nature through a project she is leading known as NAIAD (http://naiad2020.eu). This EU-funded project aims to expand the evidence base around NbS for reducing flood and drought risk while creating the business and financial frameworks necessary for operationalizing these approaches. After our main interview Al Meghji, an MPA candidate at Cornell University, sends us a “Postcard from the Future” for a glimpse into the world of 2070 and some advice on how we can focus our efforts now to create a more equitable and livable society in the future. Stick around until the end for next year’s winning lotto numbers!
35 minutes | 2 years ago
“C” is for Climate Change: Lessons About Climate Change Education
For most students, climate change is a topic they’ve heard about — maybe a topic they really care about. While nearly every discipline is affected in some way by climate change, the subject is often relegated to the natural sciences. How can we make sure that the next generation of professionals — and global citizens — can think critically about impacts and adaptation? In this episode of ClimateReady, we bring in someone who quite literally wrote the book on that. Dr. Rob Wilby is a professor of hydroclimatic modeling at Loughborough University in the UK, and author of "Climate Change in Practice: Topics for Discussion with Group Exercises." Rob tells us about the best ways to engage with students, even the most skeptical ones, in order to get them interested in the subject while providing them with the critical thinking and transdisciplinary skills they’ll need well after graduation. We also cover the role of continued education and the need for training outside of classroom settings. Following the main interview we have another “Postcard from the Future.” This time we’ll hear from our very own ClimateReady co-host, Ingrid Timboe, in order to get a better understanding of the gaps in university training around water.
26 minutes | 2 years ago
Adapting funding to fund adaptation: Tales from Manila
How can we know if a climate adaptation project will be effective and useful? Unlike mitigation and meeting emission reduction targets, adaptation measures are often open to interpretation. Yet institutions funding these efforts are expected to use standard evaluation criteria to distinguish between options and maximize impact and return on investment. In this episode of the ClimateReady Podcast, we talk with a global expert from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) who also happens to have a background with the UNFCCC -- giving her policy, operational, and investment insights. Xianfu Lu is the ADB’s focal point for climate change adaptation and she schools us about how finance institutions are influencing adaptation projects, as well as how investment is shaped by climate and development policies. We also learn about the perception of climate change in Asia in contrast to other regions. Following the main interview, we have a “Postcard from the Future” featuring Kathryn Pharr, a researcher at the University of Oxford, who brings us a message from a popular environmental superhero of the 1990s.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
Go with the Flow: Managed Rivers, Unmanaged Climate
Freshwater ecosystems are in trouble. For centuries -- and until very recently -- rivers and ecosystems were always managed using history as a reference point. As we move into an era of uncertainty surrounding climate and hydrology, how should we think about ecosystem management in the future? In this episode of ClimateReady, we meet with Dr. LeRoy Poff, a Professor in the Department of Biology at Colorado State University and Chair of its Ecology Graduate Program. LeRoy is a leading authority on aquatic ecology and lead author behind the seminal environmental flows (“eflows”) theory on river restoration and management. For the last 20 years, eflow science has been used to guide management and policy around ecosystem performance and natural flow regimes in regulated rivers. However, the underlying assumptions of this theory and practice are being tested by climate change. With an updated take on eflows, LeRoy explains how we must move beyond the natural flow regime to meet the challenges of a non-stationary and changing world. Following the main interview, we have a “Postcard from the Future” from Stephanie Lyons, a climate, environment, and water consultant with a story from Vietnam.
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