Climate Adaptation


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10 largest deserts in the world

Rank   Desert                                          Area (km²)         Area (mi²)

  1. Antarctic Desert (Antarctica)    13,829,430    5,339,573
  2. Arctic Desert (Arctic)                 13,726,937    5,300,000
  3. Sahara Desert (Africa)                9,100,000+   3,320,000+
  4. Arabian Desert (Middle East)      2,330,000       900,000
  5. Gobi Desert (Asia)                      1,300,000       500,000
  6. Kalahari Desert (Africa)                 900,000       360,000
  7. Patagonian Desert (S. America)    670,000       260,000
  8. Great Victoria Desert (Australia)   647,000       250,000
  9. Syrian Desert (Middle East)            520,000       200,000
  10. Great Basin Desert (N. America)   492,000       190,000


Interesting conference recap for my resilience, cities, and adaptation readers. Focus seems to have been on public-private partnerships in rebuilding after disasters - getting NGOs, non-profits, and governments together to discuss how to better plan and manage environmental risks. Big fan of the international flavors at this event.


In 2011 a couple of months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear aftermath, the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction, which also hosted the first World Reconstruction Conference, brought together almost 3000 people working on reducing disaster risks and building resilient communities. This included several Heads of State, Ministers, a Managing Director of the World Bank, over 2,600 delegates representing 163 Governments, 25 inter-governmental organizations, 65 non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, private sector, local government, academic institutions, civil society and international organizations.

The Chair’s Summary of the 2011 event identified 9 ways to place DRR at the forefront to preserve and protect the balance of nature and ensure sustainable development and well-being of future generations. This included supporting local government, drawing on the untapped potential of local actors, building on the role of women as change agents, involving children and youth in decisions that affect their future, engaging the private sector, building on the role of parliamentarians in setting policy, promoting cooperation at the local, national, and regional levels,  supporting the scientific and technical communities to inform decisions, and supporting UNISDR in its leadership role in within the UN on DRR.

Gorgeous painting of a shantytown. Strong technique.Did not know the word “bidonville" until today.


Florent Espana, Bidonville d’Afrique, oil on canvas, 2011

Wind blown Juniper on the island El Hierro, Canary Islands. Via

How do farmers percieve climate change over time?

There are very few sectors that require advanced climate adaptation strategies. Insurers, farmers, military, and some development NGOs are currently the top consumers of adaptation theories. But how do local, sedentary farmers understand and perceive a changing climate? Who informs them of the coming changes?

Danish researchers surveyed farmers in the Sahel to inquire about how they will adjust their practices to a new climatological future. Surprisingly, climate was not the main driver of decision making, despite the farmers dependence upon climate predictions.

Farmers in the Sahel have always been facing
climatic variability at intra- and inter-annual and decadal time scales. While coping and adaptation strategies have traditionally included crop diversification, mobility, livelihood diversification, and migration, singling out climate as a direct driver of changes is not so simple. Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Agricultural Adaptation Strategies in Rural Sahel

H/T to the intriguing rubygonewild.

It’s Climate Science Communications Week at Climate Adaptation!  For the entire week of Feb. 18 - 23, I’ll cover how climate change is discussed by the media, scientists, researchers, academics, and politicians. If you have sources or ideas on communicating climate change, send to:

Climate change refugees lack legal protection

Currently, climate change refugees have few rights. While international law provides protection for political refugees, climate and environmental refugees are inadequately covered. If they are taken in by a neighboring country, the support that they are supposed to receive is unclear.

Developing adaptation strategies

Still, the international community has been able to agree that countries, especially in the southern hemisphere, have to adapt to climate change and protect themselves against natural disasters. In 2011, a Green Climate Fund was set up at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, to help countries adapt to climate change. The fund was provided with 30 billion euros ($40 billion) of initial capital, which is now set to be increased to 100 billion euros ($134 billion) by 2020.

Via DW

Rawanda. Unbelievable beauty. The country’s tourism department hired incredibly talented video producers Mammoth for this project.

This is Philo, a 15 year-old bull elephant. He was shot and killed yesterday for his tusks.


“Another elephant, just discovered killed, right across the river…” We drive to the carcass.


“ It seems that Gabon’s elephants are getting squeezed in a deadly vise between a seemingly insatiable lust for ivory in Asia, where some people pay as much as $1,000 a pound, and desperate hunters and traffickers in central Africa. It is a story of temptation — and exploitation — and it shows that the problem is not just about demand, but about supply as well. Poverty, as well as greed, is killing Africa’s elephants. ”


In Gabon, Lure of Ivory Proves Hard to Resist - (via rubenfeld)

See also NatGeo’s blockbuster report exposing how the Catholic Church in the Philippines is responsible for a lot of ivory poaching.

(via rubenfeld)

How to Rob Africa

The world’s wealthy countries often criticise African nations for corruption - especially that perpetrated by those among the continent’s government and business leaders who abuse their positions by looting tens of billions of dollars in national assets or the profits from state-owned enterprises that could otherwise be used to relieve the plight of some of the world’s poorest peoples.

Yet the West is culpable too in that it often looks the other way when that same dirty money is channelled into bank accounts in Europe and the US.”

Al Jazeera is killing it this year with in-depth reporting. Comparatively, their reporting exposes the U.S. media as an embarrassment of insular, sensationalist clownery. 

It is time Pulitzer recognizes.

Poacher sentenced to a record 40 years in prison. Tough sentence sets a new precedent and a warning to poachers. Video might be hard to watch for animal lovers.