Inherently intertwined, climate change and climate justice are the greatest challenges to human and environmental health in the 21st century.
Coastal areas, in particular, will face the multifaceted challenges of sea level rise (SLR). The risks posed by SLR involve inundation, population displacement, threats to food security and livelihoods, coastal erosion, and loss of biodiversity. This will have major implications for urban deltas, small island nations, and will disproportionately affect Indigenous communities and disadvantaged groups. Due to the complexity and magnitude of these issues, they should be addressed in a transdisciplinary and manner that prioritizes social and environmental justice.
The Fraser River Delta is emblematic in this regard. The region is home to an ever-growing human population of nearly 3 million, it hosts critical habitats for marine life and migratory birds, and has emerged as a key economic and logistical node within the Pacific Rim. Coastal adaptation will require both large-scale and localized planning and design efforts for both the short and long term.
As such, UBC’s Coastal Adaptation Lab (CAL), aims to develop novel planning, design, and policy solutions for coastal adaptation based on the co-production of knowledge among researchers, decision-makers, and Indigenous communities. Our approach integrates research areas that are currently largely studied independently from each other, including 1) critical infrastructures; 2) coastal habitat squeeze, 3) nature-based solutions, and 4) managed retreat, all within the overarching envelope of climate and spatial justice. In doing so, CAL aims to develop frameworks that transform the way we approach coastal adaptation by placing climate and spatial justice at the center of developing solutions to help coastal and riverine communities—both human and ecological—adapt to increased flood risks and uncertain futures.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live, work, and study on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.