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College of Arts and Sciences

Where We Live (W2L)

Local and Place Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Underserved Rural Communities
Project Team:  Susan L. Cutter (PI), Gregory Carbone, Kirstin Dow, April Hiscox, Margot Habets (Geography), Brett Robertson (Journalism)

Project Synopsis

This collaborative project with the University of Idaho and the University of Nevada-Reno seeks to understand the relationship between climate change in local places and community perceptions of these changes, and to determine actions that would lessen adverse impacts and barriers to adaptation. We hypothesize that that the difference in perceived versus measured/modeled climate-induced change is directly related to a community’s ability to adapt to the change. We believe this is consistent across landscapes regardless of the type of climate-induced change and will pursue the assumption using communities experiencing drought, heat, and wildfires in Idaho, Nevada, and South Carolina. Three cross-cutting objectives guide the research and the capacity-building: (1) Foster convergence-science through collaborative methodologies with communities; (2) Quantify and analyze the convergence and/or divergence between perceptions of climate-induced changes and actual measured changes; and (3) Build pathways for adaptive capacity and adaptation options collaboratively with community input. The project advances novel science and training by working collaboratively with underserved rural communities to advance understanding of how perceptions, values, and knowledge promote or impede adaptation to chronic (slow) and acute (fast) climate-induced changes. 

This project is designed to advance research, education, workforce development, and partnerships to proactively address climate change in underserved rural communities. Working with our state partners in Idaho and Nevada, we will enhance STEM education through the co-production of knowledge with our study communities, facilitate student training and research experiences, and provide technical skills development to fill workforce needs for adapting to climate-induced change.  In this way we aim to help rural underserved communities in our three jurisdictions adapt to climate-induced changes and translate this knowledge into action to achieve more resilient communities. 

Funding: National Science Foundation (NSF), EPSCoR RII Track-2

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