National Adaptation Forum

By Juliana Barrett

Connecticut Sea Grant and UConn Extension

In early May, over 700 people gathered in St Louis, MO for the second National Adaptation Forum (NAF). The purpose of the NAF is to promote and share climate adaptation research, issues, tools and strategies. Participants gathered from across the United States and Canada including federal, state and municipal officials, consultants, NGO’s, academics and representatives from tribal nations. There were heart wrenching stories of climate impacts slowly destroying communities and changing lives as well as inspiring solutions and new technologies.

The Forum included presentations, many of which incorporated audience participation or discussion, a poster session, working groups, training sessions, exhibit booths, and networking events. The networking events provided time to meet new people and talk with other participants about issues and strategies that are working in their communities. Bruce Hyde (UConn Extension) and I presented a poster on the Climate Adaptation Academy in Connecticut and shared the topics and issues facing Connecticut municipalities and residents.

Having attended the Inaugural NAF in 2013, progress on climate adaptation solutions and strategies is very apparent. The first Forum was very much, “Here’s what we should be doing.” A short two years later, the focus is, “Here’s what we are doing/Here’s what’s working/Here are new tools.”

The next NAF, to be held in 2016, will hopefully bring more students into the discussion as many of the solutions and strategies to deal with the impacts of climate change will come from them.

Learn more about the UConn Climate Adaptation Academy.