Guest Post: Sustainability is Important, but the Action is in Adaptation

Guest Post:
Edward R. Saltzberg, PhD
ERS Advisors

Whether or not you believe that Green House Gas emissions and other manmade environmental insults are the root cause of a rapidly changing climate, it is hard to argue with the evidence of change.

The NASA temperature chart in the accompanying chart is just one indicator that something is happening. Shrinking ice sheets, accelerating sea level rise and spiking carbon dioxide levels add to the evidence. Sustainability seeks to slow the rate of climate change by reducing Green House Gas emissions through conservation, alternative fuels, energy efficiency and other housekeeping, lifestyle and product substitution measures. All are good actions to take, but not likely to immediately change the temperature trend line. So, while attempting to make a difference we will still have to “adapt” to the impacts of global warming and they hit our personal and business lives in some obvious and not so obvious ways.

• Obviously, melting icecaps means sea levels rise and the need to adapt to coastal impacts.
• Changing climate can have large-scale impacts on public health, food and water supply and quality
• Less obvious is weather impacts on military readiness. For example, training exercises may be curtailed more frequently for bad weather requiring new training protocols and standards.
• On the local level, severe weather could mean more school closing days and a longer school year to compensate.

The result is likely a growing new business in predicting local and regional climate impacts and developing and implementing adaptation solutions. At SSF we see adaptation as one of the fast approaching challenges and big opportunities for technology, management, regulatory and behavioral experts.

SSF has launched a multi-part webinar series hosting panels of experts focusing on effective measures to adapt to the national security threats of a changing climate. Their first webcast was held in June and was called an “Introduction to adaptation and the natural and socioeconomic impacts affecting the security of the nation.” Session two focused on “Adaptations to Protect the Food and Clean Water Supply in a Changing Climate.” And session three, planned for September 28, is called “Infrastructure Adaptations to Address National Security Threats from a Changing Climate.”

To register for the next free session visit

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