Resilience and Sustainability Development: Lessons From Climate Change Adaptation Research

Resilience and Sustainability Development: Lessons From Climate Change Adaptation Research

Lynn A. Wilson (SeaTrust Institute, USA & Walden University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 35
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7727-0.ch011

Abstract

Informed action by the leaders of the future is critical for creating resilient communities. Preparing these future leaders through formal and informal education, research, and environmental/climate change programs that interweave local knowledge with the most current global science positions them to becomes the catalysts that propel community leaders to engage a wider range of possible futures. This chapter integrates findings from a SeaTrust Institute research project with the sustainable development goals in an analysis supporting dynamic and reconfigurable combinations of agents that promote the attributes of elasticity, future orientation, and motivation to address the high stakes choices for resilience to climate and environmental/social change. Author objectives in this chapter are to illustrate the optimum roles of youth in the process and what preparations and conditions are needed to instill and support youth in their ability to flip a process at the point of catastrophe to restore equilibrium and promote resilience.
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Introduction

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it… ― Wilferd Peterson

Informed action by new leaders of the future, the youth of today, is critical for closing the loop with policy and research to create resilient communities. Preparing these future leaders through formal and informal education, research and climate change programs that interweave local knowledge with the most current global science positions them to becomes the catalysts that propel community leaders to make plans for and react to a wider range of possible futures.

While scientists express high confidence that climate change is and will continue to escalate at an increasing rate (IPCC, 2014), the myriad ways in which this will play out in specific regions and communities remain uncertain. People tend to discount events that are seen as unusual, uncertain, or perceived to be only relevant in the distant future. Well documented cases in economics and debates about the gravity or even existence of climate change (Sherwood 2007; Heal 2009) attest to the tendency to set aside difficult, complex issues; people face difficulty in responding to incremental change processes (Glantz 1999) until crisis is imminent or in progress.

One way that climate change is being addressed is through the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs). The SDGs are 17 globally agreed-upon goals with 169 targets that encapsulate the major social issues in the world today, and to provide a roadmap for integrating interwoven responses to those issues through addressing sustainability and resilience challenges. The goals include poverty, hunger, health, education, gender, water and sanitation, energy, work, infrastructure, inequality, cities, consumption and production, climate change, oceans, terrestrial ecosystems, peace, and partnerships. The SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), learning from both the successes and failures of the more general MDGs in moving towards a more sustainable, fair, and equitable world.

SDG Goal# 4 is Quality Education, defined as a goal designed to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN General Assembly, 2015). While progress has been reported for access to education, particularly at the primary school level, for both boys and girls, it still leaves millions of children in over 40 countries without pre-primary education. And, access does not necessarily mean quality of education or even completion of primary school leaving over 100 million youth worldwide without basic literacy skills; more than 60 percent of those are women which puts Target 1 of Goal 4 (to ensure that, by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education) in jeopardy. Indicators for SDG Goal #4 targets for learning outcomes (target 1), early childhood education (target 2), and effective learning environments rely on incomplete and aggregate data, making it difficult to analyze and identify the children at greatest risk of being left behind. This highlights some of the challenges with a global evaluation process that depends upon local data and local implementation under voluntary reporting and in the absence of context-sensitive global oversight. Recognizing this foible, the UN has called for gathering more information from countries about how non-state actors can contribute to all the SDGs, including quality education.

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