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America Adapts - The Climate Change Podcast

A changing climate presents humanity with only one option: adapt. On the America Adapts podcast, we explore the challenges presented by adapting to climate change, the national movement that has begun to drive change, and the approaches that the field's best minds believe are already working. Join climate change adaptation expert Doug Parsons as he talks with scientists, activists, policymakers and journalists about the choices we face and the people who make them. The climate adaptation conversation, and the movement, starts here. America Adapts - building a community of Adapters!
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Now displaying: January, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

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To get a tease how our conversation went:

DOUG PARSONS:  Do you think the Scientist March is a good idea?   ANDY REVKIN:  No.

ANDY REVKIN:  People should visit Woodward County, West Virginia — the most climate skeptical county in the U.S.

ANDY REVKIN:  Nothing we can do right now will change the course of climate change for at least a decade.

In the latest episode of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with legendary journalist, Andy Revkin.  Andy has been a long time reporter for the New York Times, covering climate change science, policy and impacts for decades. Andy also blogged at Dot Earth for the New York times, one of the most popular ‘hang outs’ for those wanting to learn more about global warming. Doug talks with Andy about his recent move to Propublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.  Andy talks about his early days in science journalism, going all the way back to the 1980s when he started working for the now defunct Science Digest. In what becomes almost a climate change history lesson, Andy then explains how global warming awareness grew in the sizzling summer of 1988, with Yellowstone National Park on fire and famed climatologist James Hansen testifying before Congress. As Andy put it regarding his shift to climate reporting after these events, “I never got off the bus.” Discussing climate change with Andy is like rehashing an Indiana Jones movie:  from his visit to the North Pole, writing on the Vatican and global warming, to the policy and science implications of the issue.

Andy has long been associated with his perch at the New York Times and we discuss the details of that identity pivot to Propublica. We talk about his long term goals of writing longer investigative pieces, to highlighting some of the daily reporting he’s done during the first weeks of the Trump administration. Andy discusses the need for anonymous tips in climate reporting and how Propublica has created an encrypted page for these tips.

Other topics covered:

  • Propublica has a section “Steal our stories” that encourages others to repost their work.
  • Andy describes how the Obama administration went through their own secretive information sharing process especially regarding the work of scientists at the EPA.
  • Andy revisits his reporting during the George W. Bush years,. This includes the tampering with NASA research by Bush administration officials.
  • “Science is like putty, unfortunately, in the policy arena,” as Andy describes how administrations handle issues like science.
  • Andy describes how natural gas fracking, went from officially ‘unconventional gas’ to a ‘conventional gas’ supply and how that affected climate emissions trends.
  • For other countries, climate change has become a key issue like trade and security, so Trump just can’t come in and ignore it.
  • Andy describes his own podcast, Warm Regards, which he cohosts with Eric Holthaus and Jacqueline Gill.
  • Andy discusses the positive aspects of adapting to climate change versus fighting global warming through mitigation.
  • Andy thinks focusing on adaptation is a good thing, since it’s a ‘now’ issue, with impacts impacting communities now, whereas mitigation will be an issue that takes decades to address.
  • Encourage America Adapts to go on the road and talk to the communities facing these challenges first hand.

Key Quotes:

  • Doug poased the question, “Do you think the messaging that will come out of the upcoming scientist march on Washington will be helpful?”  Andy responds: “No.” (Again, listen in to hear the nuance behind his answer.)
  • “The global warming problem is too big for Trump to do much about…” meaning Trump’s ability to impact action in a negative way. “He can’t make it worse. Just like Obama couldn’t make it better.” (Listen to get the nuance of these quotes!)
  • “Trump can’t order West Virginia’s miners to go back in the mines” meaning Trump’s ability to get the country to switch back to coal.
  • “The end of coal in America is a done deal, and Trump can’t force that to change.”


Andy’s final message and it’s a great one:  “At the grandest scale, the thing I’ve learned about the climate problem, it is so big and multi-faceted, that everyone can play a role.”

Doug also brings on previous guest, Tristram Korten to discuss reporting in the age of Trump.  Tristram is the reporter who broke the viral story, “Florida Governor Bans Climate Change”.  Tristram and Doug discuss the challenges of journalism in the face of a hostile government and what some options are for those in government who want to share information with reporters.

So please have a listen, it’s an amazing conversation with a legendary figure in climate change circles.

 

Additional Resources:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114029917

For those who didn’t know, Andy is quite the accomplished musician (and toured regularly with the late, great Pete Seeger).

http://j.mp/revkinmusic

Stories in Propublica:

https://www.propublica.org/search/search.php?qss=revkin+climate+trump+obama&x=0&y=0&csrf_token=664986bb133b59015d7ad527eed303a11be63e61a421860d7a81d39a760d75e5

Final Dot Earth Post:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/my-propublica-move-from-blogging-and-teaching-back-to-deep-digging-on-climate/

Books by Andy
https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Revkin/e/B001IXNSRK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1390325965&sr=1-2-ent

Andy on Twitter:

@revkin

Warm Regards

@ourwarmregards

America Adapts also has its own app for your listening pleasure!  Just visit the App store on Apple or Google Play on Android and search “America Adapts.”

Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by subscribing via PayPal! For more information on this podcast, visit the website at http://www.americaadapts.org and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.  

America Adapts on Facebook!  

Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group.

Check us out, we’re also on YouTube!

On Twitter: @usaadapts

Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes

Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

Jan 23, 2017

In the latest episode of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with Shaun Martin, Senior Director of Adaptation and Resilience at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/america-adapts-climate-change/id1133023095?mt=2

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On Twitter: @usaadapts

Doug and Shaun then talk about WWF’s long and storied history in adaptation planning, WWF being one of the first groups to develop its own internal adaptation program.  Shaun walks through the nuts and bolts of developing an adaptation program and what it means for a group that already has a longstanding history of groundbreaking conservation programs.  Shaun discusses the sometimes difficult journey of merging existing conservation efforts with new approaches like adaptation.  Shaun also discusses the key role training plays in adaptation planning at WWF, not only with his staff, but with people working in the field.  The Titanic is used as an analogy for adaption in our discussion, as Shaun walks us through what that means, and it’s not as bleak as you might think.

Shaun provides the insight, that as conservationists, we are not emotionally equipped as adaptionists to deal with the many difficult future decisions on species and ecosystems, in the context of climate change, that will need to be made.  Doug and Shaun discuss the cultural shifts needed in the conservation community to ‘give up’ on species, and are the policy pieces in place to help make those decisions.  Doug and Shaun also discuss the long standing notion of the intrinsic value of nature, why that doesn’t resonate with the broader public, and how adaptation can be a unifying theme between intrinsic value and ecosystem services.

Shaun is an expert is Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) and the two spend considerable time discussing this topic, its similarities to ecosystem service, and how it’s been used in the field.

Other topics covered:

  • Does EBA offer the US Department of Agriculture a way forward to invest more in adaptation funding?
  • Comparing adaptation to pornography to make a point: I know it when I see it!
  • Doug and Shaun count down their top 3 challenges of communicating adaptation.
  • Shaun discusses how his WWF adaptation team went through a communication training, learning how to talk adaptation with donors, the public, field staff, and more.

Mentioned in This Episode:

 

Additional Resources:

Free interactive courses and training activities for conservationists on climate change adaptation basics developed by Shaun. Available in multiple languages.

Watch Shaun's recent webinar, "Learning to Live with Climate Change: What Educators need to know." with the North America Association for Environmental Education. 

https://naaee.org/eepro/learning/webinars/learning-live-climate-change-what

In A Changing Climate, We Need Nature To Save Us From Ourselves

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shaun-martin/in-a-changing-climate-we-_b_11800250.html

EbA Revisited: disentangling misconceptions about nature and adaptation

http://www.climateprep.org/stories/2016/6/14/eba-revisited-part-1-disentangling-misconceptions-about-nature-and-adaptation?rq=Shaun%20Martin

Adaptation strategies: Invest in natural capital

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/adapting-climate-change-road-less-travelled

5 Things You (Probably) Didn't Learn in Business School

https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs/on-balance/posts/5-things-you-probably-didn-t-learn-in-business-school

Embracing Uncertainty: Is It Really That Hard?

http://www.climateprep.org/stories/2016/3/1/embracing-uncertainty-is-it-really-that-hard?rq=Shaun%20Martin

America Adapts also has its own app for your listening pleasure!  Just visit the App store on Apple or Google Play on Android and search “America Adapts.”

Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by donating through America Adapt's fiscal sponsor, the Social Good Fund. All donations are now tax deductible!

For more information on this podcast, visit the website at http://www.americaadapts.org and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.  

America Adapts on Facebook!  

Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group.

Check us out, we’re also on YouTube!

On Twitter: @usaadapts

Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes

Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

Jan 17, 2017

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Randy Olson joins Doug Parsons on America Adapts to discuss the dire state of coral reefs; storytelling as a technique to communicate complex science; and what we can learn from Donald Trump’s vexing, but intuitive narrative instincts.  Randy has had a fascinating career arc.  He is a scientist-turned-filmmaker who earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University (1984) and became a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire (1992) before changing careers by moving to Hollywood and entering film school at the University of Southern California.  The first part of the discussion focuses on the state of coral reefs in the world and how the conservation and science communities have done a poor job communicating the dire state of coral reefs.  Randy highlights some of his early career research, diving on some of the most pristine spots in the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Doug and Randy talk about how in the 1980s through the 1990s, the coral reef systems begin to really fall apart due to pollution and bleaching events.  Randy explains the concept of shifting baselines, which demonstrates how we lose track of the past by resetting what we consider an existing baseline.  People diving for the first time on coral reefs in the 1990s would have no idea they are viewing a highly degraded system, hence the ‘shifting baseline.’ This makes communicating the urgency of coral conservation that much harder. 

Randy then discusses the critical need to develop simple narratives to communicate complex subjects (such as coral reef conservation!).  The coral reef community has struggled to communicate in a cohesive manner the current state of this diminishing ecosystem.  Doug and Randy also discuss the diverse and contradictory nature of the coral reef community: scientists, conservationists, and the tourism industry, each of which has its own agenda when communicating the state of coral reefs.    Randy discusses the recent presidential campaign and how Donald Trump intuitively understood simple narratives with his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Other topics covered:

  • Randy discusses his storytelling technique, “ABT” (and, but, therefore) and how it can be used to simplify coral reef conservation narratives.
  • We talk about story circles, a workshop that randy runs with different agencies and groups to practice the ABT story narrative structure.
  • Randy describes how Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a perfect example of the ABT structure.
  • We go through the thought exercise: what if Donald Trump tried to save coral reefs, how would he approach it?
  • Randy discusses how the doomsday clock was a good example of how the science community distilled the complex threat of nuclear disaster into a simple message.
  • How does one adapt to climate change in a ‘post factual world’? We ponder this dilemma.
  • The “truth” is not prevailing in scientific discourse, but narrative dynamics are, e.g., “Make America great again.”
  • We discuss the plight of the Vaquita dolphin and how it represents a failure of the conservation community to rally around a message that would have saved it.
  • Scientists need to understand that Hollywood, movies and television, are meant to entertain. Structure your advocacy message accordingly. Don’t bore people.
  • With the new administration, Randy observes we have likely entered a new era of anti-science. The science community needs to be prepared.

Finally, we discuss solutions such as getting local groups to take ownership of simplifying the message of adaptation and conservation.  It is a provocative and thought provoking episode, but ultimately a hopeful one, where both Randy and Doug challenge the science and conservation communities to learn to embrace simple narratives to get the public more aware of these important issues. 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by donating through America Adapt's fiscal sponsor, the Social Good Fund. All donations are now tax deductible!

For more information on this podcast, visit the website at http://www.americaadapts.org and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.  

America Adapts on Facebook!  

Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group.

Check us out, we’re also on YouTube!

On Twitter: @usaadapts

Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes

Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

Jan 9, 2017

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Dr. Jesse Keenan, of Harvard University, joins Doug Parsons on the first episode of America Adapts of 2017!  Dr. Keenan is a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Design where he teaches courses and conducts research in the fields of real estate development, design-development management and technology and climate adaptation science.  Jesse wears several hats: academic, public and professional.  In their conversation, Doug and Jesse dig into the origins of adaptation planning and how the federal government is currently approaching the issue. Jesse has several roles advising the federal government on adaptation and we talked about those many different approaches. We spend considerable time discussing the emergence of ‘resilience’ as the primary word and approach by the government, and increasingly, the private sector. Much of this origin ties into aligning adaptation with disaster management and Jesse explains those links.  Jesse also explains how partisan politics played a role in the rise of ‘resilience’ as the preferred term in adaptation planning.

We also talk about how adaptation has become a serious area of study for universities. Jesse is one of the more prolific publishers of adaptation literature and we talk about some of his work.  We also discuss the state of adaptation in academic programs at universities in the United States.  Professors like Jesse are providing the much needed academic grounding for the emerging field of adaptation.

Jesse also discusses Harvard’s role in engaging the city of Miami with adaptation planning and we talk frankly about the future of that city and the tough choices that community will have to make in the coming years regarding sea level rise.

We also learn that Jesse is a fellow University of Georgia graduate and he talked about being on campus when legendary ecologist Eugene Odom was there.

Doug and Jesse also have a lively discussion about the movie The Big Short, and speculate what lessons could be learned from the real estate bubble as society begins to incorporate uncertainty into long adaptation planning.

Other topics discussed:

  • We discuss how one person’s resilience is another person’s maladaptation.
  • How 911 terror attacks led the modern national security state to adopt resilience as the preferred approach to climate change planning.
  • Learn how federal agencies have evolved to incorporate disaster risk management, adaptation and resilience. FEMA, etc.
  • Learn how the US is lagging at adaptation in university academic programs.
  • How do ethics come into play when deciding to invest in high risk communities like Miami, New Orleans, etc. 
  • Learn what climate gentrification means for Miami.
  • How a huge company like Goldman Sachs approaches climate change.
  • The Challenge of drawing distinctions between sustainability, resilience and adaptation.

Also in this episode, we talk with Beth Gibbons, Managing Director of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. Beth talks about the January 25th deadline to nominate someone (or your own org) for their Adaptation Prize for Progress, which will be announced in May at the National Adaptation Forum.

Additional Notes:

People can pre-order Jesse’s new book Blue Dunes: Climate Change by Design here: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Dunes-Climate-Change-Design/dp/1941332153

Dr. Jesse Keenan on Twitter:  @Jesse_M_Keenan

Jesse’s Harvard Profile:

http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/person/jesse-keenan/

http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/2016/09/jesse-keenan-leads-research/

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-10-31/climate-change-is-already-forcing-americans-to-move

Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by donating through America Adapt's fiscal sponsor, the Social Good Fund. All donations are now tax deductible!

For more information on this podcast, visit the website at http://www.americaadapts.org and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.  

America Adapts on Facebook!  

Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group.

Check us out, we’re also on YouTube!

On Twitter: @usaadapts

Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes

Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

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