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Why People Have to Learn to Live with Wildfires

           

REUTERS/Noah Berger

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

grist.org - by Bobby Magill - April 17, 2017

Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.

Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.

Firefighters and policymakers will also have to adapt in new ways as catastrophic wildfires burn more land and destroy more homes than ever before.

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The Diversity of Life Across Much of Earth Has Plunged Below ‘Safe’ Levels

An aerial view shows a tract of Amazon rain forest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture near the city of Santarem, Para State, April 20, 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Science - Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - July 14, 2016

In an ambitious study that represents the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface — including some of its most important types of terrain and its most populous regions — the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The reason is not exactly a surprise — from grasslands to tropical forests, humans are using more and more land for agriculture, to live on, to build roads and infrastructure upon. When we take over, we clear the land or otherwise convert it for our purposes.

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Structural Adaptivity, Before and After Thoughts

 

As a means of concluding these writings on Structural Adaptivity and Resilience, following are some of the background thoughts, with recent revision, that led me to my proposals. Originally, my writings were directed at city and regional planning. However now I realize they are also about resilience.  I hope my submittals will be helpful.  I will try to write more soon.

 

Time.  Planners, resilience makers, and all other leaders and professionals dealing with the built environment must focus on long time spans.  In order to have significant impact on the future of our world, we must recognize that only by looking at big chunks of history and big chunks of future time can we really see the reality of what is going on.  Likewise, we need to do so in order to see the reality of what needs to be done.

 

Typical urban or regional plans target a future some 20 years ahead.  Moreover, they typically are based on past trends of 20 years or so.  However, our world does not change in 20-year cycles.  Twenty years is a very short time period in the flow of transformation.

 

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part II

Here is the second part of my Rebalancing by Watersheds Exercise.  I presented the background work recently in my Part I post.  Part II contains a Concept Plan Map and a discussion of the more particular information and data that led me to the Plan. 

 

Both Parts I and Part II are only a condensed version of the full text I prepared.  Within the portions I left out for this version is a considerable amount of technical information that some readers may want to see.  I will provide more of it upon request. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part I

 

One of the applications of structural adaptivity that I have presented is re-balancing our nation by major watersheds.  The benefits would be two-fold:  (1) growing our nation into urban regions where each would have resilient economic and adaptivity capacities; and (2) tying the regions to ample sources of fresh water by linking them to regional U.S. watersheds.

 

Because it would be such a large departure from recent trends and because I could discover no literature showing its possibility or desirability, I sought to perform an exercise to demonstrate its possibility.  In doing this, I am setting aside my own considerable shortcomings.  I am assuming that criticism of my arrogance in attempting such an exercise is less important than taking a step in a much-needed new direction.

 

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part III

Here are my last three Facilitation Examples, proposed activities by planners and others to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity and resilience as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future. 

 

Rethinking Homeownership.  Conventional owner-occupied land and buildings in the US many times tie the owners into long-term tenures.  It makes moves, to other locations, overly cumbersome even when such moves are in the occupants’ best interests.  Adaptivity requires the ability to make quicker changes than in the past, including the self-initiated movement of people and businesses to other locations when beneficial.  Alternative types of ownership or tenure must be facilitated, types which are more adaptable to quick change.

 

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Some Examples of Structural Adaptivity - Part III

 

Here are 4 more examples of structural adaptivity for resilience.  As with the other examples presented previously, they only are intended to illustrate the concept of structural adaptivity for resilience.  They are intended to focus on the structure or structural elements of cities and/or regions.  Moreover, they are intended to demonstrate how such structural elements can be located, organized, or otherwise developed to have capacity to adapt to the continuing needs of the citizens - as the unknown and rapidly changing future unfolds.

 

Polycentric Urban Development.  Urban development need no longer be monocentric (having only one center).  In fact, such a pattern is not adaptive to meet the future.

 

Central business districts have traditionally been the home of government, financial institutions, offices, civic plazas and the like, as well as many commercial retail and services.  They have also often contained many churches, health care facilities, educational institutions, libraries, museums, convention centers, theatres, etc.

 

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Risk and Risk Underwriting

In writing about the importance of promoting private enterprise, as well as in many other sections of my work, I suggested an almost near certainty that the risk management industry eventually will facilitate resilience and structural adaptivity in our built environment.  In my larger draft, I included a short section about this, which I am posting below (somewhat revised).  I believe it is beneficial to share this section now in order to explain my optimism for resilience. (I also wrote short sections on Time, Rapid Change, Optimism, A Futurist Perspective, and The Human Factor but do not necessarily intend to post them here.)

 

The future will be all about risk and trying to find protection from the rapidly increasing threats to our world as we advance in population size, social/cultural/economic complexity, and cutting-edge science and technology.  Risk underwriting will play a big role in how well or how poorly we adapt to accelerating change. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity Thinking

Here, I would like to explain more extensively my thinking about structural adaptivity as a critical aspect of resilience.  (In researching this subject, I was surprised by the lack of information/ideas conveniently available about the characteristics of adaptivity or adaptability. The following are my own preliminary conceptions.  I hope others will improve upon them.)

 

The world is changing so fast that our government, think tanks, universities and research institutions, business leaders, builders and developers, and “planners” have no hope of being able to keep up with it.  Many thinkers describe our world as actually undergoing rapidly accelerating change.  To be able to plan for the change, or even to be able to react to such transformation while it is happening, we need to do more than just keep up with it.  We need to jump out in front of it.

 

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part II

Here are some more Facilitation Examples.  By Facilitation I am meaning general activities by planners, and others that cause or guide development, to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future.  Some might call them implementation strategies or “calls to action.”

 

These examples have not been identified or studied by teams of experts; they are only my personal ideas intended to illustrate possibilities.  Hopefully, however, they will convey a sense of the real prospects for structural adaptivity to be achieved.  I believe that structural adaptivity is critical to resilience over the long term.

 

Promote the Futurist Perspective.  With more attention in our society to the “futurist perspective,” sooner rather than later, such attention will also come to focus on the need for all forms of adaptivity, including structural adaptivity in our urban areas and regions.  Structural adaptivity is the most, if not only, logical approach to facing a future that now is uncertain, unpredictable and rapidly changing.

 

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