Three roles for education in climate change adaptation

N. W. Feinstein, K. J. Mach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Education, appropriately conceived, can be a powerful tool in enabling effective adaptation to climate change. In this article, we identify three distinct but overlapping policy uses. First, protecting and deploying education infrastructure, the social and material resources on which education depends, can reduce vulnerability and build resilience. Second, improving general education, measured in terms of literacy, school attendance, and overall academic attainment, can enhance adaptive capacity. Third, research-based adaptation learning support can accelerate social and policy change by maximizing learning before and during adaptive decision-making. Although all three are important, the unique and transformative contribution of education lies in adaptation learning support: curricular, pedagogical, and technological resources that prepare people for complex adaptive decision-making and help them solidify learning during that work. As human societies seek to balance the old social mechanisms that ensure stability with new ones that facilitate change, our capacity to systematically support the learning that undergirds adaptation may be the limiting factor. Key policy insights The value of education for climate change adaptation policy has been limited by vague definitions and poor cross-field communication. Education supports climate change adaptation through three distinct but overlapping pathways, each offering concrete policy options: education infrastructure, general education, and adaptation learning support. The greatest value of education lies in the transformative potential of adaptation learning support: curricular, pedagogical, and technological resources that prepare people for complex adaptive decision-making and help them solidify learning during that work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalClimate Policy
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • adaptive capacity
  • Climate change
  • education sector
  • infrastructure
  • learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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