Contrasts and similarities in climate change adaptation from the East and West
Two stories from the BBC highlight how very different societies are adapting to climate change – specifically to the threat of flooding and rising water levels. One article explains how a new study conducted by researchers in the United States suggests that reconnecting flood-plains to rivers would decrease chances of future flooding and lessen the potential for flood damage in urban areas. In addition to minimizing flood risks, reconnecting rivers to flood-plains would result in better land use for flood-plains, increased resilience to the effects of climate change and ‘an increase in flood-plain goods and services,’ including the potential for carbon sequestration. According to scientists from The Nature Conservancy,
natural flood-plains are also beneficial to wildlife, especially birds and fish.
Though the study focused on an area of Northern California near the city of Sacramento, The Nature Conservancy sees naturally flooded areas as a way of mitigating impacts of climate change around the world:
In other parts of the world, Dr Opperman said that there was a range of agricultural strategies for private landowners that would be compatible with allowing areas to be flooded.
One example is the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, where ‘more and more people may have to adapt to life on water. But some of them have been living that way for years.’ A BBC News audio slideshow entitled ‘Life on the water’ gives a glimpse into the lives of some of those who work on the floating market in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and lead lifestyles which may already be resilient to threats posed by climate change. Check out both features for different examples of climate change adaptation due to rising water levels.
by Graham Land