Prepare for Climate Change
24th February 2015
Ian Roderick, Director of the Schumacher Institute, shares his thoughts on resilience and the first Prepare for Change Report.
Climate change is likely to affect communities in unique ways. One message we can gather from experts is to expect greater weather volatility than the average over the last decades and centuries. In other words, extreme weather events are going to happen more frequently and with greater intensity than before. Efforts to improve our infrastructures and responses are vital – we need to build up our internal resilience.
Another message from climate scientists is that we will see subtle changes happening to the biosphere, changes that accumulate and will shift patterns of vegetation and habitats over years. Although we need to be aware that some biosphere changes may occur rapidly if key species are susceptible to just small variations from an average, for example many coral reefs are delicately balanced on an edge of survivability.
In a similar way, some communities are on an edge and climate change may tip them over rapidly – drought and flooding, sea level rise, heat waves will first affect those living on the margins of benign conditions. Consequent pressures on movement of people, food production and economic activity will drive changes that may ripple through a region and country - eventually affecting everyone.
This report, Prepare for Climate Change, is less about the direct impacts on a city like Bristol in the UK and more about the indirect, ripple through effects of climate change on other parts of the world – how do we prepare for these changes? Our supply, or value, networks are vast and extensive – few, if any, of the tangible products around us, which we take for granted, were made or assembled in Bristol, or even the UK. We only grow 60% of the food we consume, we are one of the great importing nations.
It is possible that climate change may improve growing conditions in the UK for a short time, while the affects elsewhere in the world may create disasters beyond our imagination and comprehension. This is the gloomy side of climate change intensity. The brighter picture is of change and opportunity to rebalance and improve our external resilience. We can reduce our vulnerability here at home and then look to export this expertise to other parts of the world to reduce vulnerability throughout that vast network of dependency in which we live. This sense of convergent resilience needs awakening, can we define a new class of export products and services that help build strong, resilient communities anywhere in the world.
For a copy please visit: http://schumacherinstitute.org.uk/prepare-for-climate-change-report. The foreword is kindly written by Jeremy Leggett, Founding Director, Solarcentury, Founder and Chairman, SolarAid. This first special report is issued free. The second report on Prepare for Resource Scarcity is due in June 2015. If you would like to register an interest in subscribing to the Prepare for Change service then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.