Virtual Workshop: "Everyday Adaptations to Climate Change"

9 - 11 June, 2021

Coastal adaptation, Bangladesh (Flickr: Marufish)

Unprecedented turbulence, unimagined opportunities for some, and remarkable inequalities mark contemporary times. Climate change and biodiversity loss, overlaid on poverty, hunger and famine, threaten, but some more than others – as recent disasters and a global pandemic have demonstrated. Recent experience has brought home with particular force the importance of thinking more closely and systematically how adaptations to climate change can be more equitable. The relevance of equity is evident whether we consider longer or shorter-term, rapid or slow-onset, anticipated or unpredictable stressors and damages. 

With the above background, the Sustainability and Development Initiative seeks to bring together scholars working on adaptation to climate change, with a particular focus on local and community adaptations. The literature on adaptation is vast. Its breadth and depth, and interests of those working on the subject suggest a particular need to think and innovate about how everyday adaptations can be more equitable, more just, more fair. 

We choose the phrase everyday adaptations to highlight the fact that the vast majority of adaptations to climate risks of many kinds occur regularly and without external assistance. They are ubiquitously distributed and are incremental in nature. Collectively they have the potential to be transformational. Drawing upon an extensive history of research on the everyday, we conceptualize everyday adaptations to include the full range of local and community-based adaptations – psychological, behavioral, and material – that shape the lives of their practitioners in diverse topographical, socioecological, political-economic, and cultural contexts. They can be complementary or in tension with large-scale, externally driven, capital-intensive adaptation efforts. As such, their relationship to non-everyday adaptations is of particular interest, especially where equity and justice are concerned.

The workshop on “Everyday Adaptations to Climate Change” will be based on remote participation. It aims to be interactive, intensive, and intimate – even if virtual. The workshop offers space to present papers, provide and receive feedback, and for group discussions, with the ultimate goal that participants will collaborate to submit a set of papers for a special issue in a leading journal. 

The workshop is limited to 25 participants and will connect younger and more established scholars with the goal of mutual learning and greater capacity creation. The SDI committee reviewed all submitted abstracts, and priority was given to students and junior scholars and to those based in lower- and middle-income countries (L&MICs).

Participation is free. To enhance inclusivity, equity, and collectivity, we encourage a contribution from those whose resources enable them to do so – the main use of contributions will be to support open access fees for scholars from L&MICs who participate in the special issue.

Key Dates (Updated May 3)

May 12 Workshop pre-meeting for participant introductions
May 18 Workshop format and program draft shared
May 31 Full draft paper due (papers shared with participants June 1)
June 7 Presentations due – tentative, pending pre-meeting discussion of workshop format
June 9-11 Workshop (to be held in the morning hours, ET)

*The abstract submission period has closed.*


Workshop Coordinators:

Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan
James Erbaugh, Dartmouth University

Maria Carmen Lemos, University of Michigan

Chuan Liao, Arizona State University
Ben Orlove, Columbia University
Jesse Ribot, American University

Cristy Watkins, University of Michigan