Transformative Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from a Systematic Review

Authors: Michelle Ritchie*, Pennsylvania State University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Global Change, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: transformative adaptation, climate change, justice, Arctic, tropics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Climate change adaptation is commonly viewed as an incremental process, but often a transformative change occurs in a socio-ecological system in response to rapid biophysical changes. Current research on adaptation drivers, needs, and actions tend to fall short of answering how these transformative adaptations occur, and whether or not they are just or sustainable. Therefore, this research takes a systematic review approach to analyze current literature on climate change adaptation in two regions: the Arctic and the Tropics. The resulting cross-boundary, cross-climate archetype suite points to common threads that may enable or hinder transformative adaptation processes. This research is also served by an undercurrent of theory rooted in justice, feminism, and sustainability literature. This theory then problematizes particular archetypes which serve to reinforce existing structures of oppression or inequality, in turn forcing us to reconceptualize the relationship between transformative change and the distribution and efficiency of adaptive capacity.

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