Building a Climate Resilient Life

It's not about thriving anymore, but about surviving.

Building a Climate Resilient Life
Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Humans have always been climate resilient. Bands of us humans have lived in some of the harshest climates around the world. We thrived in those areas because the climate was stable. We knew when to seek shelter during specific times of the year, when to plant, and when to harvest.

Now we’re facing a shifting climate and we need to adapt again. We need to adapt to a changing climate and brace ourselves for future climate disasters. We need to a different level of climate resilience altogether now, because this is not about thriving anymore - it’s about surviving.

I wrote about the harsh reality of climate resilience and how much I hate that term. On one side of the coin, it feels like we gave up and have accepted our fate. On the other side, it feels pragmatic and somber.

I might not like what’s happening in our world right now, especially the disaster that COP28 has turned out to be. I can’t believe they’re arguing between “phasing out” or “winding down” fossil fuels when the answer is clear. Nor am I happy about the disdain and lack of action our elected leaders have in staving off the coming climate disasters.

For lack of better words, the system is broken. Everything is broken and once again, it's up to us to step in and pick up the pieces. Except this time, we can make better preparations.

We need to prepare ourselves, our families, and our communities for the coming climate catastrophes if we have a shot at surviving this at all. Climate resilience needs to be front and center in all our minds. We need to examine every aspect of our society and the trappings we're used to make our lives better.

We need to change our development practices. We need to shrink urban sprawl and make our existing cities more walkable. We need to green our existing cities to lower dangerous heat islands. We need to consider building more green roof systems.

We need to evaluate our existing roads, bridges, and infrastructure, not so we can make them bigger and better for more traffic. No, we need to reshape them to work better and more efficiently with the environment. We can no longer afford to bend Mother Nature to our will, we need to listen to her and learn how to make her happy.

We need to be better farmers and shift away from monoculture growing. We need to go back to the old sustainable ways of keeping nutrients in our soil. We need to stop using artificial fertilizers and water-contaminating pesticides.

We need to protect our water and keep it clean. We need to find ways to replenish our dwindling groundwater and keep PFAS out of our water system.

There’s so much to do and not enough time to do it. We can’t be deluded into thinking the good times will continue to come. The world our parents lived and thrived in is long gone. Our world and that of our children will be vastly different.

We’re left with a thin veneer of a stable world that’s being chipped away by every “once in a lifetime” heatwave, drought, or storm.

I’ve lived through many “once in a lifetime” events and it doesn’t feel real to me anymore.

The smart ones like us, who have sentinel intelligence are looking ahead and seeing a climate catastrophe coming at us like a freight train without brakes.

We need to prepare and build a climate-resilient life if want to have any shot at surviving in the next few decades.

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