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A 'back to the future' approach to taking action on climate change
Date:3/18/2014

How can communities dodge future disasters from Mother Nature before she has dealt the blow? Researchers are taking a unique approach to the issue and gaining input and support from community stakeholders. Daniel Murphy, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of anthropology, will present findings on March 20, at the 74th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA) in Albuquerque, N.M.

The presentation reveals an innovative, interdisciplinary research technique for approaching climate change vulnerability that's called Multi-scale, Interactive Scenario-Building (MISB). The project focuses on two geographic case studies: Big Hole Valley in Montana a high-altitude ranching valley and Grand County in Colorado a resort community west of Denver and south of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The researchers conducted a series of one-on-one interviews at those sites to get an array of community contributors thinking and planning for future ecological hazards, and to consider the impact of those decisions.

The researchers posed three scenarios involving future drastic climate changes. The one-on-one interviews involved around 30 people for each region, ranging from ranchers to teachers, small business owners, hunting guides, county planners and representatives from federal and state agencies. Ecologists on the research team would then predict the impact of the suggested planning.

The three possible scenarios were:

  • Some Like it Hot Describes years and years of consistent summer drought.

  • The Seasons, They're a-Changing Describes changes in seasonality, such as significantly increased rainfall in the spring.

  • Feast or Famine Describes big swings in temperature and precipitation between years.

"Areas like the Big Hole depend on snow to irrigate their hayfields," explains Murphy, "so little snowfall could pose a big problem. Not only
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Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

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