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Temporalities in Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise

Journal Article


Abstract


  • © 2015, © 2015 by Association of American Geographers. Local residents, businesspeople, and policymakers engaged in climate change adaptation often think differently of the time available for action. Their understandings of time, and their practices that invoke time, form the complex and sometimes conflicting temporalities of adaptation to environmental change. They link the conditions of the past to those of the present and the future in a variety of ways, and their contemporary practices rest on such linking explicitly or implicitly. Yet the temporal connections between the present and distant future of places are undertheorized and poorly considered in the science and policy of adaptation to environmental change. In this article we address this theoretical and practical challenge by weaving together arguments from social and environmental geography with evidence from small coastal communities in southeastern Australia. We show that the past conditions residents’ imagined futures and that these local, imagined futures are incongruent with scientific, popular, and policy accounts of the future. Thus we argue that the temporalities of adaptation include incommensurate and unacknowledged ways of knowing and that these affect adaptation practices. We propose that strategies devised by governments for adapting to environmental change need to make visible—and calibrate policies with—the diverse temporalities of adaptation. On this basis, the times between the present and the long-term future can be better navigated as a series of short and negotiated policy steps.

UOW Authors


  •   Fincher, Ruth (external author)
  •   Barnett, Jon (external author)
  •   Graham, Sonia

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Fincher, R., Barnett, J. & Graham, S. (2015). Temporalities in Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105 (2), 263-273.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84924276360

Number Of Pages


  • 10

Start Page


  • 263

End Page


  • 273

Volume


  • 105

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • United States

Abstract


  • © 2015, © 2015 by Association of American Geographers. Local residents, businesspeople, and policymakers engaged in climate change adaptation often think differently of the time available for action. Their understandings of time, and their practices that invoke time, form the complex and sometimes conflicting temporalities of adaptation to environmental change. They link the conditions of the past to those of the present and the future in a variety of ways, and their contemporary practices rest on such linking explicitly or implicitly. Yet the temporal connections between the present and distant future of places are undertheorized and poorly considered in the science and policy of adaptation to environmental change. In this article we address this theoretical and practical challenge by weaving together arguments from social and environmental geography with evidence from small coastal communities in southeastern Australia. We show that the past conditions residents’ imagined futures and that these local, imagined futures are incongruent with scientific, popular, and policy accounts of the future. Thus we argue that the temporalities of adaptation include incommensurate and unacknowledged ways of knowing and that these affect adaptation practices. We propose that strategies devised by governments for adapting to environmental change need to make visible—and calibrate policies with—the diverse temporalities of adaptation. On this basis, the times between the present and the long-term future can be better navigated as a series of short and negotiated policy steps.

UOW Authors


  •   Fincher, Ruth (external author)
  •   Barnett, Jon (external author)
  •   Graham, Sonia

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Fincher, R., Barnett, J. & Graham, S. (2015). Temporalities in Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105 (2), 263-273.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84924276360

Number Of Pages


  • 10

Start Page


  • 263

End Page


  • 273

Volume


  • 105

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • United States