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Day 8 – Karen Akerlof: Stationarity is Dead: Adaptation to a Changing World

by DrewLUD

ISC 2021 Summer School – Cognitive Challenges of Climate Change (https://sites.grenadine.uqam.ca/sites/isc/en/iscuqam2021/schedule?date=2021-06-02)

Day 8 – Talk by Karen Akerlof: Stationarity is Dead: Adaptation to a Changing World
MC: Alexia Ostrolenk, Ph.D Candidate in Psychiatric Science (UdeM); Science Communicator (ComScicon-QC, BrainReach)

In 2008, the authors of a famous Science article proclaimed that climate change had rendered a fundamental societal assumption, that of ecological stationarity, to be “dead.” But adaptation to environmental change is not a new problem for our species. Indeed, some of the defining evolutionary moments of our species may have been times of environmental change. This talk will explore some of the pathways by which humans recognize and act on risks using case examples and other studies on sea level rise and coastal adaptation. I will focus in particular on the ways in which communication facilitates collective risk recognition and decision-making, and the many forms it can take with respect to public policy processes.

Akerlof, K. L., Timm, K., Ebbin, S. A., Gambill, J. M., Grifman, P. M., Miller, T., & Moser, S. (2021). Asking questions for adaptation: Using public and stakeholder surveys as a tool within coastal climate change policy processes. Yusuf, J. E. & St. John, B. (Eds.)Communicating about climate change: Making environmental messaging accessible. Routledge. (Email me for chapter)
Rohring, E., &Akerlof, K.(2020).Perceptions of social consensus at the regional level relate to prioritization and support of climate policy in Maryland, USA.Regional Environmental Change,20(3), 72.
Akerlof, K.,Boules, C., Rohring, E., Rohring, B., & Kappalman, K. (2020).Governmental communication of climate change risk and efficacy: Moving audiences toward “danger control.”Environmental Management,65(5), 678-688.
Akerlof, K., Merrill, J., Yusuf, J.-E., Covi, M., & Rohring, E. (2019).Key beliefs and attitudes for sea level rise policy.Coastal Management, 47(4), 406-428.
Akerlof, K., Covi, M., & Rohring, E. (2017).Communicating sea level rise: Media, public opinion, and engagement.Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Oxford University Press.
Akerlof, K., Rowan, K., La Porte, T., Batten, B., Ernst, H., & Sklarew, D. (2016).Risky business: Engaging the public on sea-level rise and inundation.Environmental Science & Policy, 66,314-323.

Karen Akerlof is an assistant professor in George Mason University’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Her research focuses on the intersection between governance and science and risk communication. She explores this nexus across three areas of study: 1) communication of science with policymakers; 2) public participation in decision-making; and 3) the use of social science within government programs. She leads an environmental science communication concentration within the department’s master’s program and teaches courses on this topic as well as evidence-informed policymaking.

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