Louisiana’s response to extreme weather a Coastal State’s adaptation challenges and successes
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Projections of future extreme weather; environmental history; social diversity, inequality, and vulnerability; environmental justice; impacts of historic disasters; actual and potential impacts of policies designed to mitigate disaster losses and adapt to changing coastal conditions; distinctive local and regional cultural traditions; cultures and livelihoods at risk; and recommendations for future risk reduction and adaptation policies and actions—all these topics and more are addressed in this comprehensive volume, which promises to be an indispensable resource for all those seeking to respond to hazard-related environmental stressors, both in Louisiana and beyond. These pages contain both broad and in-depth analyses of the “wicked problem” posed by hazards and climate change. As several authors note, in contrast with problems that have specific solutions, even difficult ones, wicked problems are highly complex and novel, difficult to define and frame, and subject to multiple and often divergent interpretations of the nature of the problem and how to address it. When policies and programs are created to deal with wicked problems, those solutions often lead to more problems. Adding to this challenge, climate change has been labeled a “super-wicked problem” (Levin et al. 2012) for four reasons. First, there is pressure to act; time is running out to address the problem. Second, those who are trying to reduce the risks posed by climate change, from individuals to corporations to nation-states, are also contributing to it. This means that adequate responses to climate change will require radical, fundamental changes in behavior and social organization. Third, climate change poses a major global collective action challenge, but there is no overarching authority that can compel or manage action. Fourth, both current and proposed solutions focus on near-term timeframes, but addressing the problem requires long-term thinking and strategies that must be sustained over time—which is almost unthinkable under contemporary governance regimes and in light of conflicts over the significance (and even existence) of the problem. The authors in this volume rightly characterize climate change adaptation as a multigenerational challenge, but policies can shift whenever political power changes hand.
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