“Environmental change is not just environment; people are responding to lots of different shocks and stresses simultaneously that really act together to affect capacity to respond,” said Karen O’Brien
professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography
at the University of Oslo
and chair of the Global Environmental Change and Human Security
(GECHS) project. ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko spoke with O’Brien outside the GECHS conference in Oslo, Norway
For O’Brien, the GECHS project aims to create “a community of researchers who are showing it is about individuals and communities having the capacity to respond to threats… and pulling environmental change out of the box of just environment and bringing it into issues of development, poverty, vulnerability, etc.” By studying the full spectrum of impacts on individuals and communities, we may learn how to better craft integrated solutions on a macro scale.
Moreover, O’Brien points out that linking research within the hard sciences, social sciences, and humanities can lead to a greater understanding of the underlying issues driving challenges such as climate change. Her new book, Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, presents the latest research on integrated adaptation to climate change and was co-edited with colleagues Neil Adger and Irene Lorenzoni.