Fifth National Climate Assessment and Being Prepared
This week the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) was released. This report can help people prepare for changes coming to their neighborhood. The report stated that at this point, every region of the United States is experiencing climate change. (https://nca2023.globalchange.gov/#overview)
I’m part of a team working to analyze the studies behind NCA5, and look for sound corroboration (or lack thereof) in its conclusions.
Our ultimate goal is to present the information in regular language to help people and communities get ready for what’s ahead in their part of the country.
Different kinds of disasters will hit different places. The NCA5 not only helps folks understand what kinds of serious events they can expect, but also how frequently those events are likely to take place.
It also presents a longer view. No matter where you live, your climate is actively changing. Here in Colorado, we are still enjoying the lovely blue-sky days of fall. It’s delightful until you look at the Front Range and see almost no snow on the high peaks. And it’s the middle of November.
The USDA reports that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is changing to look like Virginia does now. (https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=96088b1c086a4b39b3a75d0fd97a4c40)
So much of the time, prepping is about surviving an immediate catastrophe. Or it’s about some dystopian science fiction world.
As I study the NCA5, it dawns on me that preparation is about anticipating change. The change can be bad, or it might be good; in any case, things are different now, and change is continuing to accelerate. We must be able to grieve our losses and then turn to our different world and figure out what to do next. Preparation is always about flexibility, and sometimes, it’s about rolling with the punches.