Terms to know for the climate crisis

Here are a few different terms to be familiar with when talking about climate change, especially about how communities are responding to the effects based on accessibility, finances, and resources. 

  • Climate resilience
    • Climate resilience is how able different regions of the world are able to prevent and recover from, and adapt to the effects of climate change. This resilience is usually used in reference to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, flooding, and drought. Climate resilience differs between countries, states, and even between neighborhoods. Often, these differences in climate resiliency are products of historical inequities and different access to certain resources.
  • Climate Migration 
    • Climate migration is the movement of people across different regions and countries in response to an increased occurrence of environmental disasters and uninhabitable environments due to climate change. Due to rising sea levels, flooding, drought, or food/water shortages, people have had to move from their homes and seek refuge in other areas of the world that have not been as heavily affected by climate change yet. However, relocation isn’t possible for all people, which may point to structural inequalities that keep some families in inhospitable areas. 
  • Climate abandonment areas
    • These are areas that have experienced significant population loss that can be attributed to the effects of flood risk related to climate change. This can be due to rising sea levels or extreme weather events such as hurricanes. While it is generally thought that this population loss results from moving to vastly different regions of a state or country, a lot of the population change is from neighborhood to neighborhood, which may demonstrate the different resources and adaptation strategies that different areas of the same city have access to.
  • Mitigation vs. Adaptation
    • Mitigation is a strategy to focus on reducing the root causes of climate change, which primarily addresses reducing the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. This could involve decreasing our use of fossil fuels, distributing renewable energy, or creating opportunities for more uptake of carbon dioxide (e.g. reforestation). Mitigation is focused on prevention of harm to the planet by climate change.
    • Adaptation involves taking actions to adjust to the effects of climate change, mostly focusing on providing basic needs (food, water, shelter) to all who have been affected. This can include building seawalls to protect against flooding, reducing food/water waste after disasters, and generally changing lifestyle patterns to align with the resources in a changing climate. 


Written by Carmen Marshall

Photo by Nguyen Kiet on Unsplash

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