Globalize local initiatives

In this speech, Colette Pichon Battle, formerly of Gulf South Center for Law and Policy and now working with Taproot Earth, explains why in cimate change adaptation the local knowledge of “frontline communities” is important and why and how the local initiativves need to connect and globalize their efforts.

Thanks to Aron Chang for the lead.

yonaoshi – the cleansing disaster

In japanese culture, disasters are commonly interpreted as a call and chance for renewal. The then governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara published a statement only two days after the Tsunami of March 2011 calling “the disaster a punishment from heaven because Japanese have become greedy. […] We should avail of this tsunami to wash away this greed. I think this is a divine punishment. ” Shintaro was a controversial figure, an extreme right-wing politician, but also a popular literary author and former film maker. He later apologized for the statement and in 2012 resigned as governor of Tokyo. Still, this concept is quite popular among Japanese who are also very much accustomed to natural disasters. It is called yonaoshi (世直し) which translates as world renewal or great revolution.

Sources from: Christian Rumrich, Sichtbares und Unsichtbares, in: Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe. Von Atlantis bis heute. Mannheim: 2o14

Divide the Seas!

To counter the global sea level rise, several initiatives have formed to block seas off from the global water flow. The idea behind it: If you control the global water flow, you could control the sea level locally without having to tackle the problem globally. Of course, from a political point of view, this is a case of eco-protectionism taken to the next level. It would create an unprecedented case of separatism, a whole area shutting itself off from global interdependency that is essential to what human culture is – an interdependent global network.

About these plans, one scientist from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research said: “See this as a warning. What we’re saying is: Here’s a plan, a plan we don’t want. But if we end up needing it, then it’s technically and financially feasible.”

See the article from the New York Times from 2020.

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin

Soldiers Grove is a village situated along the Kickapoo River in Crawford County, Wisconsin, in the United States. The population was 592 at the 2010 census. The town has become a case study in best practices for managed retreat. In 1978, flooding inundated the Soldiers Grove area. In the aftermath of the disaster, $900,000 in federal funds were provided to assist in relocating the village’s business district to higher ground. Construction of the new business district began in 1979 and was completed by 1983. A park replaced the old downtown area along the river. It later became the self proclaimed “America’s First Solar Village”. (Quote: Wikiepdia)

USA; 20. Century; Policy, Managed Retreat; City: Soldiers Grove


The small nation state Kiribati has become well known, because it is projected to be one of the first nations who’s citizens are forced into migration because of Rising Sea Levels. Kiribati is made up of 32 atolls scattered across the southern Pacific Ocean. There are no places on these atolls high enough so that migration within the country would be a solution. So the government has created a program called “migration with dignity” to help it’s population to become settled in other nation states. Find here an extensive research on the policy.

Republic of Kiribati; 21. Century; Policy; Managed Retreat

You’re next!

A sign in front of a home in the town Matatā in New Zealand, that been forced into “managed retreat”, the process where communities, buildings and infrastructure are gradually evacuated from areas designated uninhabitable or to dangerous. The sign reads ‘Whakatane district council stole our homes. Watch out the rest of NZ, you’re next!’ (Photograph: Stephen Langdon/The Guardian)
Source and full article!

New Zealand; 21. Century; Sign; City: Matata