Adaptation to climate change: From resilience to transformation
The book offers a critique of the dominant trends in thinking about adaptation and climate change, particularly social dimensions. It presents a framework for making sense of choices around resilience (stability), transition (incremental social change and the exercising of existing rights) and transformation (new rights claims and changes in political regimes). The resilience– transition–transformation framework is supported by three detailed case study chapters. These also illustrate the diversity of contexts in which adaption is unfolding, from organisations to urban governance and the national polity. The book concludes that adaptation is too often reflected in a narrow way, which assumes that climate change is an ultimate, rather than a proximate driver of change. It argues that social systems that deliver specific management functions and organise governance serve to mediate between the impacts of climate change and people at risk. In this way understanding adaptive capacity and action requires a lens that can examine organisational behaviour and governance regimes, as well as the feelings, values and actions of individuals. The book highlights that technical understanding of climate change adaptation is becoming accompanied by a more nuanced view that can include governance as a field of adaptation, as well as a context within which technical adaptations unfold, and so the relationship between humanity and climate change is shifting. We turn from adapting to climate change, towards adapting with climate change. The reader is reminded of the challenges ahead for a progressive adaptation. The book argues that, not only are external structures likely to resist change, but those at risk themselves are apt to choose to support and adapt to the status quo for lack of access to the tools and opportunities to develop and apply critical awareness.