Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mitigation and Adaptation

by Antonio C. Antonio
November 26, 2014

In the last two years, environmental groups have been arguing on what should be the appropriate term to be used in describing or labelling climate change strategies.  There are those who insist that “mitigation” is the more appropriate term than “adaptation”.  But what is the big deal in the use of terms?  What’s the difference between these two words?

The terms “mitigation” and “adaptation” have been loosely used.  Sometimes even interchangeably used.  But there indeed is a difference between these two terms.  By definition, “mitigation” is: (1) The action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something; and, (2) Actions that limit, stop or reverse the magnitude and/or rate of long-term negative effects of environmental problems.  On the other hand, “adaptation”, by definition, is: (1) A change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its present environment; and, (2) The evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat.  For more information on “Adaptation and Maladaptation”, please check on this link: http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/05/adaptation-and-maladaptation.html.

There is also a difference in the temporal (meaning: relating to time as opposed to eternity) and chronological (meaning: the arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence) use of these terms… that “mitigation” should always take precedence over “adaptation”.  At least in this aspect all environmentalists are in agreement.

For people to be talking about “adaptation”, it simply means that all possible “mitigation” approaches and strategies have already been exhausted… and things have gone from bad to worse.  And for pro-environment advocates to be talking of “adaptation”, it becomes a more worrisome situation.  This simply means that our environmental situation has deteriorated to another negative level.  They, more than anyone else, should know and realize the difference between mitigation and adaptation.

Just my little thoughts…

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