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Julie Brugger and Michael Crimmins

Abstract

In light of global climate change, adaptation will be necessary at all levels of social organization. However, the adaptation literature emphasizes that because the impacts of climate change and vulnerability are locally specific, adaptation is inevitably local. In this paper, in order to inform the design of institutions that can encourage and support effective local-level adaptation, the authors derive principles for their design theoretically and use a case study to explore how these principles could be practically implemented. Ten design principles are synthesized from principles derived from reviews of the literatures on local-level adaptation, usable science, and boundary organizations. Bringing these three literatures together highlights the characteristics of boundary organizations that make them particularly valuable for addressing the challenges of local-level adaptation. The case study then illustrates how an existing boundary organization, The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System (CES), implements these principles in its organizational structure and in the daily practice of Extension professionals. It also highlights the significance of the CES’s existing social networks and social capital for facilitating their implementation. From the case study it is concluded that the CES is uniquely positioned to serve an important role in a national adaptation strategy for the United States in supporting local-level adaptation in urban and rural communities across the country.

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Julie Brugger, Alison Meadow, and Alexandra Horangic

Abstract

There is an increasing demand for climate science that decision-makers can readily use to address issues created by climate variability and climate change. To be usable, the science must be relevant to their context and the complex management challenges they face and credible and legitimate in their eyes. The literature on usable science provides guiding principles for its development, which indicate that climate scientists who want to participate in the process need skills in addition to their traditional disciplinary training to facilitate communicating, interacting, and developing and sustaining relationships with stakeholders outside their disciplines. However, the literature does not address questions about what specific skills are needed and how to provide climate scientists with these skills. To address these questions, this article presents insights from interviews with highly experienced and respected "first generation” climate science integrators from across the United States. The term “climate science integrator” is used to refer to climate scientists who specialize in helping decision-makers to integrate the best available climate science into their decision-making processes. The cadre of scientists who participated in the research has largely developed their methods for working successfully with stakeholders without formal training but often with the guidance of a mentor. Their collective wisdom illuminates the kinds of skills needed to be a successful science integrator and provides mentoring for aspiring science integrators. It also suggests the types of training that would cultivate these skills and indicates ways to change academic training and institutions to better encourage the next generation and to support this kind of work.

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Shannon M. McNeeley, Sarah A. Tessendorf, Heather Lazrus, Tanya Heikkila, Ian M. Ferguson, Jennifer S. Arrigo, Shahzeen Z. Attari, Christina M. Cianfrani, Lisa Dilling, Jason J. Gurdak, Stephanie K. Kampf, Derek Kauneckis, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Juneseok Lee, Benjamin R. Lintner, Kelly M. Mahoney, Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Pallav Ray, Andy B. South, Andrew P. Stubblefield, and Julie Brugger
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