Climate Change Adaptation in Developed Nations

Volume 42 of the series Advances in Global Change Research pp 461-473


Anticipatory Adaptation in Marginalized Communities Within Developed Countries

  • Michelle BoyleAffiliated withInstitute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia
  • , Hadi DowlatabadiAffiliated withInstitute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia Email author 

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The majority of anticipatory adaptation frameworks applied in developed countries tend to idealize the institutional and cultural readiness for their successful deployment. We explore the validity of these assumptions for Arctic Canada, where marginalized communities are experiencing extreme climate change, as well as contending with many other external and internal stresses. Collaborations with communities in Nunavut revealed that they lack the resources, institutional capacity, and expertise to employ long-term strategic planning processes and conventional analytical decision methods. More importantly, their priorities and cultural perspective are inconsistent with underlying Western theory and its implicit assumptions. In light of these challenges, we recommend that efforts to mainstream climate change adaptation rely on frameworks that can (1) respect community priorities and introduce resilience to climate change as one part of meeting other critical development goals and (2) accommodate key cultural differences in decision-making, values, and the use of information.


Anticipatory adaptation Climate change Marginalized communities Nunavut Canada Arctic Inuit Adaptation frameworks Resilience Cultural differences Traditional knowledge