Adapting to specific conditions requires the conscious implementation of specific strategies. Certain climate change adaptation strategies include conducting a thorough study of the situation and developing ideas that can help you make the best use of what one has. In these times, it is important to learn to live sustainably with the environment amidst the changes in climate to ensure that you are not contributing to the causes of climate change. For instance, in agriculture, with the knowledge of seasons and observed changes in recent times, a traditional approach to adaptation is to alter sowing times or adopt advanced irrigation techniques.
You can develop adaptation strategies from two perspectives. You can either adapt to changes that have occurred by responding to them or adapt to changes about to happen in anticipation of them. One prominent example of anticipatory adaptation in Canada is the higher elevation construction of the Confederation Bridge to adapt to the possible rise in sea level in the future and its effect on ship clearance under the bridge.
Let’s look at specific adaptation strategies that you can implement in dealing with three significant effects of climate change; heat waves, floods and drought.
Adapting to heatwaves
One obvious strategy is to install an air conditioner. Unfortunately, this is also the least-environmentally friendly response, with air conditioners being extremely power-heavy appliances that consume mass amounts of a city’s energy supply at a time. This can result in city-wide power-outages, not to mention the environmental impacts caused by heavy energy use. Another adaptation strategy is to use green or incentivized light-coloured roofs as they are known to reduce captured heat to a large extent.
Adaptation against drought
Due to irregularities in times, seasons, sunshine and rainfall, farmers end up with low yields, and drought inevitably sets in. We can adapt to this situation by developing crop varieties that have higher drought tolerance. The option of reducing complete dependence on crops and going for edible fruits and roots is also available. Afforestation (the act or process of establishing a forest especially on land not previously forested) can also supply food as a backup and, at the same time, provide carbon sequestration, conserve water and give aesthetic value.
Adaptation to flooding
An option for adaptation to flooding is to implement measures to prevent the overflow of wetlands (swamps, marches, etc.) and other water bodies. Wetlands are nature’s natural sponges that soak up excess water to reduce/eliminate the risk of floods. A variety of measures can be taken to reduce the risk of flooding and technology can play an essential role in certain cases. You may choose to implement structural flood protection measures such as building a seawall or elevating the height of man-made structures, preemptive warning systems, or natural solutions such as increasing vegetation in areas near large water bodies.
Another strategy is to store rainwater in a bid to reduce rainfall frequency in its cycle. Underground storage tanks, water-buffering vegetation and making water-permeable pavements are all possible adaptation solutions to flooding. Raising street-level definitely works as well, along with many more specific location strategies in their effectiveness.
However, one primary adaptation strategy that you should implement regardless of location or situation is spreading awareness and educating those affected about the problem and how they can cope with it. If after using adaptation strategies, you still find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, the final strategy that can be resorted to is migration to a safer location.
Adaptation strategies are not limited to these and may differ from place to place. Still, they are no doubt necessary in the modern-day quest for survival. Some effects of climate change may also prove to be beyond what we can adapt to, and in such cases, climate change mitigation comes in place. Tomorrow, we will cover the adaptive measure currently in application.