Last year at this time the only thing outshining Santa’s pending arrival was the hope of a climate Christmas miracle at the UN’s Climate Summit in Copenhagen. Twelve months later it seems all climate fans can wish for this Christmas is a lump of coal, given the inability of Congress and the international community to take long-overdue action on the climate crisis. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that some states continue to press on at the local level—recognizing climate change is indeed occurring and that now is the time to act.
Yes, climate fans: Oregon and Alaska recently released a pair of climate change adaptation strategies. These strategies are notable for their focus on the need to address climate impacts NOW in order to keep wildlands and communities resilient in a warming work. These plans follow similar initiatives within federal land management agencies and organizations like the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) - resulting in continuing action based on climate science.
As you’ve read here and here, investing in keeping our lands resilient to climate change can create American Jobs on American Lands while protecting the valuable natural services upon which we rely. From scientific monitoring to tackling invasive species to landscape-scale restoration projects, climate adaptation projects can put diverse collections of experts to work today while giving wildlands and communities the best possible chance at surviving inevitable climate effects tomorrow.
To be sure, much work still needs to be done—including dramatically reducing carbon pollution and actually implementing large-scale natural resource adaptation strategies. However, in lieu of the Congressional inaction we need, local leadership is all the more important.