Going Deep: a new strategy for saving Seychelles.

Can our society prepare for a world in which global warming threatens large-scale social, economic, and political upheaval? What are the policy and social implications of rapid, and mostly unpleasant, climate disruption? These and other similar questions, once perhaps the preserve of fringe thinkers, are being seriously discussed by scientists, https://goo.gl/8pNWB2.

Seychelles, like all Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with miniscule amounts of emissions and therefore no opprtunity to mitigate climate change, has taken the adaptation route. Adaptation and Mitigation are the two ways countries an deal with climate change. Adaptation is where a country or community attempts to put in place strategies, activities and infrastructure to blunt the inevitable impacts of climate change – including building set-back lines, restoration of ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves, harvesting rain water, building seawalls, and so forth.

But some forward-thinking scientists are going further, calling for what has been termed the “deep adaptation” agenda. Dr. Jem Bendell of the University of Cumbria, U.K who is credited with having made the term “deep adaptation” popular, calls it an integrated suite of changes— such as pulling back from the coast, closing climate-exposed industrial facilities, planning for food rationing, letting landscapes return to their natural state—coupled with cultural shifts, including “giving up expectations for certain types of consumption” and learning to rely more on the people around us. https://goo.gl/roXVCS

The size of Seychelles – the smalness of everything including the economy, population, habitable area and infrastructure – makes it ultra-sensitive to shocks. Perturbations that wouldn’t even tickle larger nations rattle our society.

Mainstream adaption strategies are not really working. Climate change is beating us despite our best efforts. The government, private sector and civil society in Seychelles must come together very urgently to prepare for deep adaptation. The changes to be made in both mind-set and development strategies will by necessity be drastic. The population has to be prepared and the most vulnerable have to have protection.

The urgency cannot be exaggerated because the problem is worsening at an accelerating rate. In a new paper climate scientists say that the planet may be very close to locking in what they call a “hothouse” trajectory—warming of 4C or 5C (7F or 9F), “with serious challenges for the viability of societies.” https://goo.gl/wLbWhu

Author: Dr. Nirmal Shah

Nirmal is a well-known and a passionate personality in the Seychelles environmental and sustainability scene having an encyclopedic knowledge of Seychelles biodiversity as well as a wealth of experience in environment management. He has worked in senior positions in the parastatal, government, private and NGO sectors and consulted for international organizations such as the World Bank, IUCN, UNEP, Sida and UNESCO. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, Radio France, PBS, NBC, ABC, SABC and others

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