“We have only three options: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We will have to do all three.” Strong words from Harvard professor John P. Holdren in a BusinessWeek article titled Battening Down the Hatches.
But what exactly is mitigation, adaptation, and suffering? According to the article mitigation is the part of being ‘green’ that we are all familiar with. It’s driving less, recycling or using compact fluorescent light bulbs. It’s the things you can do to lessen or mitigate the damage to the environment. Reducing one’s carbon footprint is a great example of mitigation.
What is adaptation? According to the article, adaptation is all the things we need to do now to prepare “for a world reshaped by climate change.” The City of Annapolis, Maryland is planning to spend $9 million to raise the city’s dock located on Chesapeake Bay. Florida is exploring ways to protect 1,300 miles of coastline. You know its serious when Washington starts spending money. According to the article, “Congress is considering nearly two dozen bills with provisions for funding research and helping communities cope.
What is suffering? We are all familiar with Hurricane Katrina and the expense of rebuilding. The article mentions the Alaska town of Newtok. Diminished sea ice that once protected the town is leaving it vulnerable to erosion by the sea. The Alaskan town of Shismaref is “literally being battered to the point of falling into the sea.” – excerpt from July 17, 2006 BusinessWeek article, Business On A Warmer Planet. These towns are being moved. This is suffering!