I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature. - FAQs - Follow - Face - Ask - Donations - Climate Book Store - Submissions

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A scarecrow stands to keep birds from landing on oil ponds at the McKay River Suncor oil sands in-situ operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on September 17, 2014. (Reuters/Todd Korol) (via The Alberta Tar Sands - In Focus - The Atlantic)


Amatuer video of massive blizzard that killed 39 trekkers and sherpas on Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas October 14. Click to watch.


僕の”フリーカラー”ペン。My “Free Color” pen. #ginzablow 〜 (GIN)銀三郎

My “Free Color” pen. My “Free Color” pen. #ginzablow 〜 (GIN)銀三郎


Asker Anonymous Asks:
I don't think anyone would expect you to work on both adaptation and mitigation, I don't think that's what the last question was about. It just seems like sometimes you dismiss mitigation as something stupid and useless, which is probably why you're getting a few of these questions. That's probably what some people would like to see addressed; I would.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey Anon,

I’ve been asked variants of this question hundreds of times over the four years I’ve run this tumblr. At this point, I’m moving on from these discussions and I kindly refer readers to the archives.

I also kindly invite mitigation folks to deeply reflect on Kevin Anderson’s work on the realities of emissions, as well as the rhetorical emissions scenarios that politicians and many scientists have bought into. Anderson is the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, a primary source for the world’s climate science.  

Importantly, see Kevin Anderson’s deeply important emissions reality lecture, here. As well as the revised lecture, here.



Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi I really liked your post about what to do with a masters in urban planning. Currently I'm getting my undergad in sociology with honors but I want to get a Masters of Urban Planning or Urban Studies. There are a lot of different schools offering such programs in the US, how do I choose which is right for me?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi Anon,

First, check out my advice for students at the bottom of my FAQs page. Please have a look!

Depends on your point of view - are you into theory or developing your career? If you are into developing your career, think of a masters degree as an apprenticeship. Look for schools that offer real world experience - ones that offer you a graduate assistantships or good internships that will place you in a some sort of development office - a city or town’s planning department, economic development office, historic planning association etc.

Once there, work very hard and cleverly to get onto any project in addition to your assigned tasks. For example, if you are assigned to work on updating GIS data (a cauldron of terrible doom, btw), ask to edit the latest economic development report, ask to take pictures of easements, request to take minutes at planning board meetings (you should show up anyway). These experiences will be invaluable later on (you’ll also be ahead of your cohort).

You must network network, network.

I also recommend working with professors that used to be urban planners and, if you can find out, have funded projects. 

Good luck!


I filmed this chaotic scene in Hanoi, Vietnam recently. Watch the guy in the tank top (far right) cross through without a hitch.


So, this is still happening on Stellwagen Bank. #whales #whalewatching #feeding

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Can someone with a policy graduate degree work in climate adaptation?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Yes! Hit me up and we can chat offline.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi! You posted a question in which another user asked about vegetarianism and your response was that you are more into climate adoption rather than mitigation. Do you think that in order to "punch" climate change in the face, adaption alone wouldn't "knock out" punch to climate change, but rather it has a combination of both? It seems kind of strange to say because it would allow for arguments for driving non-fuel efficient cars, not-recycling, etc.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey Anon,

Clever, but this is like asking me to be an engineer in addition to being a surgeon. I choose to work on adaptation and I love my work. I work with governments and people in over 30 countries - and I witness improvements in many people’s lives. I’m interested in deepening my expertise, not thinning them out.

This is what I do, from my current CV:

Mr. Michael E. Cote is an international climate adaptation specialist with 12 years’ experience specializing in urban planning, program management, and institutional capacity building. He focuses on managing teams that develop capacity for effective programming and efficient use of climate adaptation techniques and technologies. Mr. Cote has worked with governments, NGOs, universities, and the private sector in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Asia to create, implement, and build capacity for uptake of modern adaptation mechanisms.

For USAID’s GCC office, Mr. Cote manages the $2.1M High Mountain Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP) program, which has attracted climate adaption planning buy-ins from Peru’s Ministry of Environment, Government of Nepal, and the UNDP. He is the Technical Lead for the $650K urban planning technology project called CIMPACT-DST in Vietnam. CIMPACT-DST is a climate adaptation decision making software tool for use by urban planners that a) increases capacity to understand climate impacts and b) aims to lower climate and economic risks to planning and development goals. Mr. Cote also serves as Director of Communications for the overall CCRD contract, managing a team of environmental writers, editors, designers, and videographers.

Mr. Cote has published over 25 technical publications, journal articles, and reports on the laws and policies of climate adaptation, sustainable land use planning, and institutional capacity building. He is currently an editor for The International Journal of Climate Change, member of USAID/GCC’s National Adaptation Plan working group, and was Expert Reviewer on the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Working Group II. He is Engility’s focal point to the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change.

This is a lot of work. It’s difficult and tiring. And I’ve chosen to focus on getting better at it.




@Earth_Pics: A walrus was discovered asleep atop a Russian submarine today.


RIP Rick Piltz — George W. Bush White House Climate Science Whistleblower.

From 1995-2005, he held senior positions in the Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

In the spring of 2005, Rick resigned from his position to protest the Bush Administration’s political interference with climate change communication. His whistleblower documentation of politically motivated White House editing and censorship of climate science program reports intended for the public and Congress received front-page coverage in the New York Times and was widely reported in the media. 

Rick testified before both the House of Representatives and the Senate at hearings on political interference with federal climate scientists.

Basically, the Bush II administration was caught editing scientific reports from the EPA. Piltz informed the public, and a scandal broke out.

It should also be noted that George Bush Sr created the world’s first federal level climate change research office in 1990 with the Global Change Research Act of 1990. His son, George Bush Jr., tried to shut it down. See also.


don’t litter, it scares the sharks

Are you at least vegetarian? The biggest source of greenhouse gases is animal agriculture.
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

I’m into climate adaptation, not mitigation. See FAQs. Cheers, m

Asker cuckoomocker Asks:
Hello! I'm a student in Washington, and I'm on my way to get a bachelors in urban planning. After that I'll probably go for a Masters. I was wondering though, as someone that has a degree in city planning, what kind of jobs do people end up with that aren't just city planners? When people talk about getting a city planning degree, they only talk about becoming city planners. Are there any other options?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi Cuckoomocker,

Such an interesting question - what are alternative careers other than “urban planning” with an urban planning degree? There are a lot of options. It depends on your interests and your focus area. During my urban planning education at UMass-Amherst, I studied adaptation of coastal cities. But, I gained a lot of real world skills from graduate assistantships and volunteering - survey design (learn this!), historic preservation, economic growth, eminent domain, city park protection, water infrastructure, even apple orchard design, (don’t go into GIS, btw). From there, I became a specialist in adaptation and now I work around the world (OK, it’s not that easy, but I apply what I learned in grad school on a daily basis).

  • How about fighting wildfires in National Parks?
  • Work with game reserves in Africa and South Asia to protect rhinos, big cats, and elephants.
  • Drop your ethics, sell your soul to the devil and become a real estate developer. You’ll make a ton of money.
  • Or, double down on your ethics and go into international development. Help other countries build good communities.
  • What about historic preservation? Do homes, monuments, buildings, places, etc., need to be preserved for history?
  • Geographer
  • Archeologist
  • Land use attorney
  • Architect

Here’s an interesting job for recent graduate at the BLM $47k to $82k: “Recent Graduate Interdisciplinary (Natural Resources Specialist/Mining Engineer/Geologist”

There are tonnnnns of options for urban planners. I recommend, for your masters, that you latch on to an adviser that has very interesting ideas and projects in the real world. Avoid theorists (unless you want to teach). Protip: get as many graduate assistantships as you can with various city departments  - then call them “consultancies” on your resume - you’ll blow your competition away come job hunting time. Oh, and apply for jobs 6 months ahead of your cohort (trust me on this, your cohort will turn on you come graduation and are vicious competitors for the same jobs you’ll be applying to.).

Hope that helps a bit…