Adaptation in the community

This page outlines why communities need to prepare for the impacts of climate change and lists actions they can take to moderate the consequences.

The need to prepare

We will all have to learn to live with some effects of climate change as changes are inevitable due to the greenhouse gas emissions already in the atmosphere. Therefore we need to understand and adapt to the likely changes it will bring. We can minimise the damages and maximise the opportunities of future climate changes to our communities by putting in place appropriate mechanisms before the changes happen.

The longer we leave it, the bigger the climatic changes will be and the harder it will be to manage them.

The table below outlines some of the things we need to be aware of, and might need to take action on soon.

Ways to prepare

Examples of possible adaptation options

Sea level rise

  • Become informed about what is happening to your coast now and what could happen to it in the future.
  • Support dune care programmes in your area.

See also the Adapting to sea level rise web page.

Water resources and flooding

  • If you're in an area where water supply is limited, and could become more limited under climate change, be proactive in developing household or farm water conservation measures.
  • Be aware of flood risks when buying or developing property.
  • Support the protection and enhancement of lakes, rivers and wetland areas in your region.
  • Incorporate wider use of water-efficient saving devices in your household/business.

See also the New Zealand Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme web page.

Higher temperatures

  • Design buildings with balconies, shading and efficient cooling systems including wider use of natural ventilation.
  • Incorporate passive solar design and insulation into houses - this reduces the need for heating in winter and air-conditioning in summer.

Agriculture and land management

  • Use practices that improve the soil, conserve water, and decrease wind and water erosion. 
  • Be watchful for any pests that you may not have observed before.
  • Plant trees in erosion-prone and marginal farm land.
  • Support the ongoing development of sustainable land management practices.
  • Farmers may have to store more supplementary feed for their livestock if the climate becomes more variable.

Funding available

The Community Environment Fund is a source of funding for initiatives that makes a positive difference to the environment. 

Local government responsibilities to communities

Local government is required to consider the impact of climate change on their communities. For further information see the webpage:

Adaptation and local government