By Erica Slowik
Apia, Samoa. Kigali, Rwanda. Manila, Philippines. Nairobi, Kenya. Kathmandu, Nepal.
The work of Nataij spans the globe, its team assisting governments, development banks, and non-profit and civil society organizations to leverage funding to combat the ever-present effects of climate change. While Nataij largely operates in the international sphere, its mission to support communities build resilience and improve adaptive capacity is no less relevant to efforts undertaken domestically.
In August 2018, Nataij attended the third biennial California Adaptation Forum, bringing the climate conversation home. The three-day conference, hosted by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the State of California, served as a knowledge sharing platform in which adaptation leaders challenged prevailing development paradigms through three plenary panels, 40 discussion sessions, and 13 training workshops. Discourse on the latest in climate science, best practices, and replicable strategies for resiliency followed eight cross-cutting tracks that informed an urgent message: Climate change is not a future problem, it is a present reality. In the past five years alone, California residents have witnessed—and, for many, personally experienced—the grave impacts of coastal erosion, extreme drought, unprecedented wildfires, and record-breaking temperatures.
Despite the sobering subject of the conference, the California Adaptation Forum largely inspired hope as more than 800 attendees, diverse in their perspectives, disciplines, and skillsets, united to advance a common cause. Nataij is grateful for those who work with extraordinary optimism, energy, and dedication to meet California’s pressing adaptation needs.
The narrative of rising global temperatures and resounding climate calamities is not one of here and there, us and them. It is one of diffuse costs and collective responsibility. Nataij offers the expertise to ensure communities, including those in California, are equipped to confront urgent climate threats. The team looks forward to opportunities to partner with local leaders and foresees the potential for meaningful knowledge exchanges: We hope to share our international perspective and learn from the innovative interventions happening throughout the state so that, at home and abroad, we can better prepare communities for the new climate reality.