CAVU’s programs fall into two general categories of Mitigation and Adaptation. These two categories represent the two categories of response to the threat of climate change, including, respectively, reducing the magnitude of the problem by reducing humanity’s greenhouse gas contributions and sequestering existing gases, and improving the ability of humans, human societies and systems, and the resources that people value to cope and respond to impacts and changes caused by climate disruptions.
Central Program Goal: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Identify and advocate for high-leverage policy approaches to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Translate latest science on mitigation measures and impact of greenhouse gas emissions into a format digestible by the general public.
• Provide communities information about the scale, nature, and effect of local greenhouse gas emissions and engage them in opportunities to address the problem locally.
• Build consensus across unlikely sectors to create long term solutions to curbing and sequestering greenhouse gases, and ensure voices of impacted citizens are reflected in these
Central Program Goal: Reconnect people with the natural world.
• Help to rectify systemic injustices related to climate change through working with groups that are disproportionately impacted.
• Heal degraded areas and build their capacity to cope with change.
• Build the public’s understanding of climate adaptation and resilience (as opposed to mitigation).
• Identify current gaps and translate current science into a format digestible by the general public.
• Identify and elevate solutions actionable by individuals or communities to climate impacts.
Approaching programs from this perspective allows CAVU to help shift the climate narrative away from the dominant discussion of mitigation as the sole response to climate change. Currently, aggressive mitigation is presented as a utopian solution which, if not achieved, will result in apocalyptic climate conditions.
This narrative ignores three crucial facts: 1) Even if aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved, anthropogenic warming will still dominate the climate for the rest of this century and likely longer, 2) climate change is already affecting populations across the globe, and certain populations disproportionately and 3), even in the nightmare scenario of runaway warming, adaptation for many human and animal populations is still a viable option. Life will go on. Constant disappointing news about international action on climate change (or lack thereof) can lead people to emotionally distance themselves from caring about the species and people most affected, and resign themselves to cynicism and fatalism.
Focusing a portion of our programs on adaptation allows CAVU to present a hopeful vision alongside the scarier science and news and fight public fatigue on this issue by providing concrete resilience-building actions and projects that can help people and the things they care about survive, even in a worst-case scenario. We’re at the stage as a society that we ought to start thinking about a “life after climate change,” and CAVU is doing its part to make sure that what comes next is part of the conversation. Reconnecting people with the natural world is contingent on having people believe that nature is not doomed, and that fight is not over even if the next decade doesn’t result in the kind of progress we want on climate change.