Virtual Workshop: "Everyday Adaptations to Climate Change"

Coastal adaptation, Bangladesh (Flickr: Marufish)

Unprecedented turbulence, unimagined opportunities for some, and remarkable inequalities mark contemporary times. Climate change and biodiversity loss, overlaid on poverty, hunger and famine, threaten, but some more than others – as recent disasters and a global pandemic have demonstrated. Recent experience has brought home with particular force the importance of thinking more closely and systematically how adaptations to climate change can be more equitable. The relevance of equity is evident whether we consider longer or shorter-term, rapid or slow-onset, anticipated or unpredictable stressors and damages. 

With the above background, the Sustainability and Development Initiative seeks to bring together scholars working on adaptation to climate change, with a particular focus on local and community adaptations. The literature on adaptation is vast. Its breadth and depth, and interests of those working on the subject suggest a particular need to think and innovate about how everyday adaptations can be more equitable, more just, more fair. 

We choose the phrase everyday adaptations to highlight the fact that the vast majority of adaptations to climate risks of many kinds occur regularly and without external assistance. They are ubiquitously distributed and are incremental in nature. Collectively they have the potential to be transformational. Drawing upon an extensive history of research on the everyday, we conceptualize everyday adaptations to include the full range of local and community-based adaptations – psychological, behavioral, and material – that shape the lives of their practitioners in diverse topographical, socioecological, political-economic, and cultural contexts. They can be complementary or in tension with large-scale, externally driven, capital-intensive adaptation efforts. As such, their relationship to non-everyday adaptations is of particular interest, especially where equity and justice are concerned.

The workshop on “Everyday Adaptations to Climate Change” will be based on remote participation. It aims to be interactive, intensive, and intimate – even if virtual. The workshop offers space to present papers, provide and receive feedback, and for group discussions, with the ultimate goal that participants will collaborate to submit a set of papers for a special issue in a leading journal. 

The workshop will be limited to 20 participants and will connect younger and more established scholars with the goal of mutual learning and greater capacity creation. An SDI committee will review all submitted abstracts. Priority will be given to students and junior scholars and to those based in lower- and middle-income countries (L&MICs).

Participation is free. To enhance inclusivity, equity, and collectivity, we encourage a contribution from those whose resources enable them to do so – the main use of contributions will be to support open access fees for scholars from L&MICs who participate in the special issue.


April 05 Deadline to submit your 300 word abstract via the link below
April 09 Decision notification
April 13 Confirmation of participation and full draft paper due
April 29-30 Workshop (to be held in the morning hours, ET)
Sept 2021 Journal submission (target)


Abstract Template:

1. Objective(s) or purpose(s)

2. Perspective(s) or theoretical framework(s)

3. Method(s), techniques, or modes of inquiry

4. Data sources, evidence, objects, or materials

5. Results and/or substantiated conclusions or warrants for argument(s)/point of view(s)

6. Scientific or scholarly significance of the study or work

Workshop Coordinators:

Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan
James Erbaugh, Dartmouth University

Maria Carmen Lemos, University of Michigan

Chuan Liao, Arizona State University
Ben Orlove, Columbia University
Jesse Ribot, American University