A Fresh Approach
This issue of The Environment marks the return of Flood and Coast as an in-person conference and exhibition. This annual event, delivered by CIWEM and the Environment Agency, returns to Telford on June 7-9, reuniting the flood-risk and coastal-erosion management community at a live event. To mark Flood and Coast 2022, this magazine explores some of the most pressing impacts that come with climate change; flooding, storms, rising seas and drought.
Adapting to more extreme weather is a pressing topic, at home and abroad. Our cover story this month presents eyewitness accounts from the Global South of the impacts that have already hit three climate-vulnerable nations.
Like many island states, Jamaica is grappling the twin threats of coastal erosion and lost food production as weather patterns have become less predictable. Malawi and its southeast African neighbours are struggling with the impacts of cyclones – storms that used to hit only coastal communities. And Somalia is no stranger to harsh weather. But the rains have now failed for four consecutive seasons – and that leaves more than four million people struggling to cope with water shortages and drought. In all three countries, women are hit hardest of all. All countries must find ways to adapt to climate shocks.
Our three experts set out what they see as the local adaptation priorities. All three urge the world community to deliver knowledge, better monitoring and funding that does not simply saddle climate-vulnerable states with yet more debt. It’s a theme that Youssef Nassef picks up too. In our exclusive interview, the UNFCCC director for adaptation explores the new evidence to support loss and damage payments. Most of all, he presses for fresh thinking. Business as usual solves nothing, he warns.
“We must recognise the symbiotic relationships between humanity and nature, to move from an extractive to a regenerative relationship,” Nassef says. “I don’t know which is more difficult; to invent new things to reach that state, or to invent new ways of thinking.” Which is the agenda CIWEM hopes to deliver at Telford.
Karen Thomas is editor of The Environment