The confluence of disasters in 2020 underscores not only the urgency of human adaptation amid worsening hazards but also the necessity of integrating social and environmental justice into these plans. The impacts of human-induced climate change are becoming ever more noticeable, contributing to rising seas, sluggish tropical cyclones, more intense wildfires, and novel diseases. Human and ecological communities are at greater risk of harm. Consistent investments in unsustainable practices of economic development, urban growth, land use, natural resource use, and energy production are endangering entire ecosystems and magnifying inequalities in human systems. What is worse, in many cases, a combination of human action and inaction has exacerbated feedback loops between human and ecological systems that now perpetuate physical and social vulnerability.
Geographic research on equitable socio-ecological adaptation is increasingly valuable in the face of more frequent and intense hazards. Whether at an individual, community, or institutional scale, human responses to global environmental change that prioritize justice and sustainability can foster innovation, creativity, and increased resilience to extreme events.
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