Angus Naylor

Climate change and COVID-19: reinforcing Indigenous food systems

Zavaleta-Cortijo, C., Ford, J.D., Arotoma-Rojas, I., Lwasa, S., Lancha-Rucoba, G., García, P.J. et al. 2020. Climate change and COVID-19: reinforcing Indigenous food systems. The Lancet Planetary Health, article online.

Indigenous populations are at especially high risk from COVID-19 because of factors such discrimination, social exclusion, land dispossession, and a high prevalence of forms of malnutrition.1
 Climate change is compounding many of these causes of health inequities, undermining coping mechanisms that are traditionally used to manage extreme events such as pandemics, and disrupting food systems and local diets.2
 Addressing underlying structural inequities and strengthening Indigenous knowledge systems offer opportunities for building resilience to compound socioecological shocks, including climate effects and pandemics.

Knowledge Mobilization in Community-based Arctic Research

Flynn, M. and Ford, J.D. 2020. Knowledge Mobilization in Community-based Arctic Research. Arctic, 73(2), pp. 141-227.

Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is widely recognized as being essential to research, but there is limited academic guidance on how to do this well. This paper builds on the growing body of literature to develop a framework of key principles for KMb focused on Indigenous communities in the North American Arctic. We used a literature search and coding of identified good practice from both the grey and peer-reviewed literature (n = 80), alongside semi-structured interviews (n = 24) with key stakeholders to determine a framework of key principles and to contextualize and identify gaps or challenges. We found that effective KMb occurs throughout the research process and varies widely across regions and by researcher and community. Ultimately, there is no checklist of specific actions to ensure effective KMb, nor would such a list be desirable given the need to tailor KMb to specific contexts. However, we have identified three key principles of effective KMb: 1) respect, 2) mutual understanding, and 3) researcher responsibility. Underlying these principles is the consideration of trust and relationship building. Though these notions are based on subtle and nuanced context and vary from place to place, they all involve the consideration of formal and informal processes of KMb with Arctic research. By highlighting these key principles, we provide a framework to increase effectiveness of KMb across environmental change research within Arctic communities.

Assessing the feasibility of adaptation options: methodological advancements and directions for climate adaptation research and practice

Singh, C., Ford, J.D., Ley, D., Bazaz, A. and Revi, A. 2020. Assessing the feasibility of adaptation options: methodological advancements and directions for climate adaptation research and practice. Climatic Change, article online.

The Paris Agreement put adaptation prominently on the global climate action agenda. Despite a surge in research and praxis-based knowledge on adaptation, a critical policy roadblock is synthesizing and assessing this burgeoning evidence. We develop an approach to assess the multidimensional feasibility of adaptation options in a robust and transparent manner, providing direction for global climate policy and identifying knowledge gaps to further future climate research. The approach, which was tested in the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 °C (SR1.5) to assess 23 adaptation options, is underpinned by a systematic review of recent literature, expert elicitation, and iterative peer review. It responds to the challenge of limited agreement on adaptation indicators, lack of fine-scale adaptation data, and challenges of assessing synergies and trade-offs with mitigation. The findings offer methodological insights into how future assessments such as the IPCC Assessment Report (AR) six and regional, national, and sectoral assessment exercises could assess adaptation feasibility and synthesize the growing body of knowledge on climate change adaptation.

The Resilience of Indigenous Peoples to Environmental Change

Ford, J.D., King, N., Galappaththi, E.K., Pearce, T., McDowell, G., and Harper, S.L. 2020. The Resilience of Indigenous Peoples to Environmental Change. One Earth, 2(6), pp. 532-543.

Indigenous peoples globally have high exposure to environmental change and are often considered an “at-risk” population, although there is growing evidence of their resilience. In this Perspective, we examine the common factors affecting this resilience by illustrating how the interconnected roles of place, agency, institutions, collective action, Indigenous knowledge, and learning help Indigenous peoples to cope and adapt to environmental change. Relationships with place are particularly important in that they provide a foundation for belief systems, identity, knowledge, and livelihood practices that underlie mechanisms through which environmental change is experienced, understood, resisted, and responded to. Many Indigenous peoples also face significant vulnerabilities, whereby place dislocation due to land dispossession, resettlement, and landscape fragmentation has challenged the persistence of Indigenous knowledge systems and undermined Indigenous institutions, compounded by the speed of environmental change. These vulnerabilities are closely linked to colonization, globalization, and development patterns, underlying the importance of tackling these pervasive structural challenges.

Progress in climate change adaptation in the Arctic

Canosa, I.V., Ford, J.D., McDowell, G., Jones, J. and Pearce, T. 2020. Progress in climate change adaptation in the Arctic. Environmental Research Letters, article online.

Climate adaptation is a priority for Arctic regions which are witnessing some of the most rapid warming globally. Studies have documented examples of adaptation responses in the Arctic, but assessments evaluating if and how progress is being made over time remain scarce. We identify and examine adaptation progress in the Arctic using a systematic tracking methodology to compare adaptations documented during 2014-19 to those documented for the period 2004-2013 in a benchmark study by Ford et al (2014). Utilising the peer reviewed literature as out data source, we find no noticeable increase in reported adaptations across the two time periods, with the profile of adaptations undertaken remaining largely the same. The majority of documented adaptations continue to be reported in North America, are being undertaken most often in the subsistence-based hunting and fishing sector, are primarily developed in response to a combination of climatic and non-climatic stimuli, are reactive and behavioural in nature, and are mainly carried out at the individual/community scale. Climate change is observed, however, to have a more prominent role in motivating adaptation between 2014-19, consistent with intensifying climate-related exposures in the Arctic. There is limited evidence in the reported adaptations analysed that potential opportunities and benefits from the impacts of climate change are being targeted. The paper provides a general characterisation of adaptation across the Arctic and how it is evolving, and needs to be complimented in follow-up work by studies using alternative data sources on adaptation and research at national to regional scales.

Climatic Changes, Water Systems, and Adaptation Challenges in Shawi Communities in the Peruvian Amazon

Torres-Slimming, P.A., Wright, C.J., Lancha, G., Carcamo, C.P., Garcia, P.J., Ford, J.D., IHACC Research Team and Harper, S.L. 2020. Climatic Changes, Water Systems, and Adaptation Challenges in Shawi Communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Sustainability, 12(8), article online.

Climate change impacts on water systems have consequences for Indigenous communities. We documented climatic changes on water systems observed by Indigenous Shawi and resultant impacts on health and livelihoods, and explored adaptation options and challenges in partnership with two Indigenous Shawi communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Qualitative data were collected via PhotoVoice, interviews, focus group discussions, and transect walks, and analyzed using a constant comparative method and thematic analysis. Quantitative data were collected via a household survey and analyzed descriptively. Households observed seasonal weather changes over time (n = 50; 78%), which had already impacted their family and community (n = 43; 86%), such as more intense rainfall resulting in flooding (n = 29; 58%). Interviewees also described deforestation impacts on the nearby river, which were exacerbated by climate-related changes, including increased water temperatures (warmer weather, exacerbated by fewer trees for shading) and increased erosion and turbidity (increased rainfall, exacerbated by riverbank instability due to deforestation). No households reported community-level response plans for extreme weather events, and most did not expect government assistance when such events occurred. This study documents how Indigenous peoples are experiencing climatic impacts on water systems, and highlights how non-climatic drivers, such as deforestation, exacerbate climate change impacts on water systems and community livelihoods in the Peruvian Amazon.

Conceptualizing Climate Vulnerability in Complex Adaptive Systems

Naylor, A., Ford, J., Pearce, T. and Van Alstine, J. 2020. Conceptualizing Climate Vulnerability in Complex Adaptive Systems. One Earth, 2(5), pp. 444-454.

This Perspective develops a novel approach for assessing the vulnerability of complex adaptive systems to climate change. Our characterization focuses on the dynamic nature of vulnerability and its role in developing differential risk across multi-dimensional systems, communities, or societies. We expand on past conceptualizations that have examined vulnerability as processual rather than a static or binary state and note the necessary role of complexity and complex adaptive systems theory as a basis for effective vulnerability assessment. In illustrating our approach, we demonstrate the importance of factors such as modulation (connectedness), feedback mechanisms, redundancy, and the susceptibility of individual components within a system to change. Understanding the complexity of potentially vulnerable systems in this manner can help unravel the causes of vulnerability, facilitate the identification and characterization of potential adaptive deficits within specific dimensions of complex adaptive systems, and direct opportunities for adaptation.

Climate change adaptation in aquaculture

Galappaththi, E., Ichien, S.T., Hyman, A.A., Aubrac, C.J. and Ford, J.D. Climate change adaptation in aquaculture. Reviews in Aquaculture, article online.

This study conducts the first systematic literature review of climate change adaptation in aquaculture. We address three specific questions: (i) What is aquaculture adapting to? (ii) How is aquaculture adapting? and (iii) What research gaps need to be addressed? We identify, characterise and examine case studies published between 1990 and 2018 that lie at the intersection of the domains of climate change, adaptation and aquaculture. The main areas of documented climate change impacts relate to extreme events and the general impacts of climate change on the aquaculture sector. Three categories of adaptation to climate change are identified: coping mechanisms at the local level (e.g. water quality management techniques), multilevel adaptive strategies (e.g. changing culture practices) and management approaches (e.g. adaptation planning, community‐based adaptation). We identify four potential areas for future research: research on inland aquaculture adaptation; studies at the household level; whether different groups of aquaculture farmers (e.g. indigenous people) face and adapt differently to climate change; and the use of GIS and remote sensing as cost‐effective tools for developing adaptation strategies and responses. The study brings essential practical and theoretical insights to the aquaculture industry as well as to climate change adaptation research across the globe.

Contributions of scale: What we stand to gain from Indigenous and local inclusion in climate-health monitoring and surveillance systems.

van Bavel, B., Berrang-Ford, L., Harper, S.L., Ford, J.D., Elsey, H., Lwasa, S. and King, R. Contributions of scale: what we stand to gain from Indigenous and local inclusion in climate-health monitoring and surveillance systems. Environmental Research Letters, article online. 

Understanding how climate change will affect global health is a defining challenge this century. This is predicated, however, on our ability to combine climate and health data to investigate the ways in which variations in climate, weather, and health outcomes interact. There is growing evidence to support the value of place- and community-based monitoring and surveillance efforts, which can contribute to improving both the quality and equity of data collection needed to investigate and understand the impacts of climate change on health. The inclusion of multiple and diverse knowledge systems in climate-health surveillance presents many benefits, as well as challenges. We conducted a systematic review, synthesis, and confidence assessment of the published literature on integrated monitoring and surveillance systems for climate change and public health. We examined the inclusion of diverse knowledge systems in climate-health literature, focusing on: 1) analytical framing of integrated monitoring and surveillance system processes 2) key contributions of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge systems to integrated monitoring and surveillance systems processes; and 3) patterns of inclusion within these processes. In total, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included for data extraction, appraisal, and analysis. Our findings indicate that the inclusion of diverse knowledge systems contributes to integrated climate-health monitoring and surveillance systems across multiple processes of detection, attribution, and action. These contributions include: the definition of meaningful problems; the collection of more responsive data; the reduction of selection and source biases; the processing and interpretation of more comprehensive datasets; the reduction of scale dependent biases; the development of multi-scale policy; long-term future planning; immediate decision making and prioritization of key issues; as well as creating effective knowledge-information-action pathways. The value of our findings and this review is to demonstrate how neither scientific, Indigenous, nor local knowledge systems alone will be able to contribute the breadth and depth of information necessary to detect, attribute, and inform action along these pathways of climate-health impact. Rather, it is the divergence or discordance between the methodologies and evidences of different knowledge systems that can contribute uniquely to this understanding. We critically discuss the possibility of what we, mainly local communities and experts, stand to lose if these processes of inclusion are not equitable. We explore how to shift the existing patterns of inclusion into balance by ensuring the equity of contributions and justice of inclusion in these integrated monitoring and surveillance system processes. 

“Even if it doesn’t come, you should be prepared”: Natural hazard perception, remoteness, and implications for disaster risk reduction in rural Fiji


Pearce, T., Currenti, R., Doran, B., Sidle, R., Ford, J. and Leon, J. 2020. “Even if it doesn’t come, you should be prepared”: Natural hazard perception, remoteness, and implications for disaster risk reduction in rural Fiji. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 48, article number 1010591.

  • Preparation is the key to surviving a disaster and minimising harm
  • Local perceptions of risk, worldviews and beliefs influence disaster preparedness
  • Past experience with less-severe events can contribute to complacency
  • Climate-proofing homes should include new and traditional construction techniques