This week I released the first episode of my podcast, Climate Hot Seat. I wanted to start a podcast about climate adaptation because it’s one of the most pertinent topics of our generation – and it’s not getting talked about much outside certain professional circles. The thing about climate adaptation is that we will either do it, or we won’t. For example, new infrastructure investment can either stay how we’ve been doing it for decades, or we can build infrastructure to withstand the more frequent and severe weather events expected in the future (and save billions of public dollars over the long term). If we can rally as a society and not only prepare for change, but potentially direct change, we have some level of control over our collective future. Unfortunately, it looks like we are trending towards the do-nothing attitude.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment was released earlier this month and it had a lot of press coverage. On one hand I was encouraged by the level of media interest. On the other, the news stories left out 99% of the findings and focused on one thing: climate change is real and it is human caused. Any press is great, don’t get me wrong, but this should have been the headline in the mid 1990’s. In the past 20 years we have a much more detailed understanding of how climate change will impact society and the environment, although we still have much to learn.
We are starting to get an idea of how, when and why climate change is going to impact our lives. Where we are stuck is what options we have for doing something about it. That is where Climate Hot Seat fits in. I want to share innovations, creative approaches, and starting points. Climate change became politicized over the past few decades. The one thing that will tear down the ideological walls we’ve built is open conversation.
Over the past six months, I have been interviewing pioneers in the climate adaptation field and picked their brains about what is working and what is not. Each interview covers a different topic, ranging from dealing with sea-level rise in the Hawaiian Islands, to Tribal Adaptation Plans, to how religion and climate science intersect. It’s my hope that Climate Hot Seat will become a go-to place to exchange ideas and learn new perspectives on what we can all do to make a better future.