On the front lines of climate adaptation: Part 2
With the business community grappling to understand how the impacts of climate change will affect their bottom line, Sustainable Industries recently interviewed two authors who literally wrote the book on resilience to find out more on the topic. Cole Roberts and Alisdair McGregor are sustainable design gurus from Arup who teamed up with their colleague Fiona Cousins and others to put together the most complete, informative and accessibly written compilation of resilience information to date.
Following is Part 2 of Sustainable Industries' exclusive interview. You would be ill-advised to squeak through without first reading Part 1 here.
SI: While talking to engineers in this space, I've heard that a number of mitigation projects have transitioned to adaptation projects since Hurricane Sandy hit. Does this shift of focus from mitigation to adaptation represent a good or bad thing for the overall climate change movement?
McGregor: One of the arguments we make in the book is that you have to do both; they go hand in hand. You’ve got to do your best on mitigation, but assume you’re going to have to do something on adaptation. But you shouldn’t just suddenly move everything to adaptation.
Roberts: Oftentimes, it’s how we structure a mitigation response that tells us how much we have to do for adaptation response. You can have mitigative responses that are adaptation responses. Let’s look at passive survivability in buildings: If you’ve got a daylighted building, generally you’re going to have a daylighted building after there’s a major disaster. You’ve also lowered you’re greenhouse gas emissions from that building, plus you’ve created an environment that can still be somewhat occupy-able after some major hazard gives a shock to the system. So rather than seeing it as a linear process, it’s a maturing of the understanding that sustainability is inclusive of a mitigation structure and an adaption structure as well as many other things: public health, equity.