Anticipatory Adaptation in Marginalized Communities Within Developed Countries

Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 42)


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 



The authors are grateful for input from Dr. Susan Rowley, John Bennett, and anonymous reviewers. Editorial comments were provided by Eryn Kirkwood and Shane Roberts. This research was made possible through support from the Climate Decision Making Center (CDMC) located in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. This Center has been created through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation (SES-0345798) and Carnegie Mellon University. Research in Nunavut was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – Northern Research and Development Programme, Natural Resources Canada – Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations Programme, the Northern Scientific Training Programme, and the Oceans Management Research Network.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Resources, Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Liu Institute for Global IssuesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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