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Integral Perspectives on Climate Change Adaptation

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Ok, well, first I should say that… I’m not like a climate change expert… I’m formally trained in ecology, and I’ve worked in ecology for many years and at a certain point realized that ecological degradation requires that we work with human populations. And so I started working for sustainable development, and that largely has been in parts of Latin America and parts of Africa… And when the climate change issue started to become more and more prominent we began realizing that it is like, it is an ecological phenomena that is produced by a social change process. Like… our societies are producing and emitting much more carbon dioxide than ever before. So, to address those ecological phenomena we have to do social change work. It’s part of a comprehensible sustainable development. And so, by… in that way we are brought into the climate change discourse, particularly around mitigation and adaptation, primarily adaptation, as we go forward. so, given that background, the biggest thing we find is that, as you found, is that so much of the climate change conversation is basically about systems, about first scientists looking at ecosystems and understanding how this carbon that’s emitted is affecting the climate. And then all the conversations in economics and politics and technology around addressing that fact, or that issue. What we see is that the other terrains of culture and humand experience, and human behavior are actually critical, to even get close to understanding and working with the issue So, what we’ve been doing in parts of Latin America is looking at what sorts of social change processes and also adaptation processes can occur on all four of these quadrants, from integral theory. So, looking really closely at what forms of community resilience exist for the community to (a) make a meaning of the issue; and then (b) from their own inherited resilience find ways to adapt, or work, or mitigate the issue of climate change. So that’s been… this is an on-going inquiry but we think that that’s as important, if not more important, that the pure science or the pure economic debates about the issue. And, so that, we primarily are working in communities, but that’s not to say that that same work with the cultural change can’t also happen at a broader scale, bio regionally, or even nationally, you know, for a whole nation to kind of come together around how it can mitigate its carbon emissions and promote, and adapt a change in climate. And in the other piece that we’re really excited about is this realm of human experience, so that the upper left quadrant in integral theory. And, you know, if anyone would go back in time when a tragedy or a massive change, or any sort of situation that was stressful… anyone of us can find ways that we, as a person, found resilience to that, that stressor. So if we think about our, you know, our global population, every human has within them a way, an interior resilience to confront multiple stressors, such as those provoked by climate change, and move forward. And so we’re really, really excited to, in a climate change adaptation strategy, to find ways we can actually reveal and, kind of, promote that interior human resilience in the face of climate change. So those, bringing those two, quadrants… those two pieces of our interventions more fully into a climate change adaptation we feel that there can be actually a sustainable change made in communities and nations. that’s what I would say right now… let me think for a second… and maybe just add to that, it’s, you know, again, if you think back to your own life when have you been able to make a behavioral change that actually worked. Usually we set intentions, we don’t actually achieve that behavioral change, and so, again, looking at these quadrants, it seems to be that if a person can really look at their motivations and look at their meaning-making and connect an intention to change behavior to that meaning-making there’s a more effective pathway to change behaviors, the key point of this integral approach to climate change, or climate change adaptation, in our case. This actually tetra-meshing these quadrant interventions, and that’s the exciting part for all of us, is how are these gonna actually come together. How can we bring the science and the economic analysis directly together with some of these community resilience, and human resilience, and behavioral change? How can it operate as one, right? So, that’s what we’re working on, both in, you know, writing on it, researching it, but also practicing that… When I hear you say all these other areas of conventional action it could look to some people that is like more work to do, so it’s not only working about economy, so now we have to work on the culture, and the inner experiences… But what is your experience, at the end, is it simpler to do? I mean, do you get better results for the same amount of work, or, how does it land in the applications? Yeah, that’s a great question, I think there’s a couple of ways to answer it; and one is that if there’s a group of specialists that are economists, and that’s what they do, I’m not so much saying that those economists need to become generalists and learn every other discipline to become integral in their response, but what they could do is be more willing to include data and research teams from other…, or practice teams from other of those disciplines So right now, with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), you know, for a long time it’s just been reporting the science of climate change, and not really looking at the human security dimensions that well, or some of the cultural or experiential aspects of climate change, so that needs change. We just need our experts to be casting their nets more widely and including more perspectives, from more experts from more disciplines. At the same time, when we work in communities, we actually do in one practice, in one team of people, but particularly in one practice, if we were to just look at, say, community economic development and its impacts, given a change in climate and the unpredictable weather events caused by climate change, we just looked there, then we might pour resources in to pour resources in money and time into an intervention, but if we left out or really keep point about culture, for example, you know, say we try an intervention that, you go and you seed a new kind of crop that does better in a draught scenario, that’s fine, but if there’s no cultural uptake for that changed crop, we just lost all that money and time and resources, so for us, in our practice, it’s actually been more… it’s been more effective to consider all quadrants in these sorts of climate change interventions. Makes a lot of sense, well, thank you very much Gail. Would you like to say something in Spanish, for our audience in Mexico and Latin America?

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 43 seconds
Country: Mexico
Language: English
Producer: Pablo Quiroga
Director: Juan Pablo Rico
Views: 110
Posted by: climaintegral on Nov 20, 2010

Integral Perspectives on Climate Change Adaptation

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