ABOUT

MCC APPROACH

Adaptation through Local Networks, Human Dimensions, and Collaborative Science

“Information, in itself, is not knowledge, nor do we become any more knowledgeable through its accumulation. Our knowledgeability consists, rather, in the capacity to situate such information, and understand its meaning within the context of direct perceptual engagements with our environments” (Ingold 2011: 21).

“Rooting the process of adaptation in communities allows important communal practices… to be identified and used to facilitate change from within, rather than attempting to force change from without” (Ensor and Berger 2009: 231).

Defining Place: The socio-ecological setting of Hawai’i Island

Maunakea from Hilo Bay with layer of cloud in the middle showing the peak popping through the cloud layer at sunset.
Sunset at Waiʻuli. Photo Credit: Scott Laursen

From mauka to makai (mountain summit to the sea) Hawaiʻi Island features diverse climates that drive an equally rare diversity of ecosystems. It is, therefore, host to many complex shifts resulting from climate change. Yet after centuries of socio-ecological change, this island has remained resilient due to human adaptation and cultural innovation. This makes Hawaiʻi Island a revealing place to build upon our understanding of contemporary climate shifts while strengthening long standing adaptation capacities to change.

Hawaiʻi Island encompasses 4,024 square miles in the Central Pacific and rises from sea level to nearly 14,000 ft in elevation with five volcanic mountains (see map below). Tradewinds alongside rainfall and clouds generated by the mountainous topography

Fishpond with lava rock in forefront and coastal forest in background.
Honuʻapo, Kaʻū. Loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) have been essentiall for Hawaiian cultural perpetuation and community sustenance for centuries. To adapt to climate change, loko iʻa managers seek to understand future changes in ground water flow, nutrient delivery, and salinity. Photo credit: Ryan McClymont, USGS

interact with a temperature inversion layer to form an island resembling a miniature continent (Juvik and Juvik 1998).

The island contains a wide-array of landscapes from barren new lava fields to lush wet forests and alpine tundra. Isolation and unique habitat diversity in close proximity fostered the evolution of the island’s remarkable biodiversity. This globally unique setting is, however, at risk to a wide array of climate change impacts.

Mirroring the ecological diversity, human communities on this rural island are highly place-based, experiencing a wide range of ecosystems and climates, embodying distinct histories of Native Hawaiian and immigrant cultures and home to a diversity of landowners and political arenas (McMillen et al. 2017). Prior to contemporary resource management systems, Native Hawaiians maintained an abundance of biological and cultural resources through the Moku System, which required a deep understanding of the structure and function of the land and seascapes. The Moku System created a mosaic  of socio-ecological systems by dividing the islands vertically to address resource management needs and horizontally to manage human population dynamics (Winter et al. 2018). This socio-ecological assemblage (human and “more-than-human” communities) elevates the island as a representative site for other locations globally that are working to be resilient and adaptive under a changing climate (Abram 1997).

Dive Deeper: Climate in the Pacific

Map of Hawaiʻi Island with parcels of land use types.
County of Hawaiʻi General Plan Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide (current as of 2012) with centroids of land managed by interviewees, site (squares) and watershed (circles) scales, by manager type on Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi. Inset showing area (63% of island acreage) managed by interviewed site- and watershed-scale managers. Data courtesy of interviewees, County of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi Planning Office, and NOAA

“Social inclusion will result in more socially sustainable processes, yielding collectively higher levels of societal well-being” (Dujon et al. 2013: 2).

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Jung, C.G. 1938. “Psychology and Religion.” In Psychology and Religion: West and East, Collected Works of C.G. Jung 11. p. 131

Our Approach: Adaptation through Local Networks and Collaborative Science

Image of identity and worldview figure leading to five major elements.
Our identity, or worldview, is comprised of complex interacting components that collectively interpret our human experiences and drive our actions. The figure is structured to show the main components of identity and worldview: (1) experience, instincts, & intuition, (2) emotional intelligence and unconscious, (3) individual values, (4) group norms & values, and (5) perception. Within each category, it lists a few different ways to interpret each concept: common definition, foundational elements in bullets, and a couple resources which can be found in the Resources List below.

Human Dimensions Resource Library

Click on the different sections below to expand and find useful resources that represent a diversity of perspectives on each of the “Identify and Worldview” concepts. The bolded resources are the ones spotlighted in the figure above and represent key resources on those topics.

Holistic, sensory knowledge: a creative/innovative path

1) Sir Kenneth Robinson TED Talk (2007) : “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”; most viewed talk in the history of TED Talks

2) Sir Kenneth Robinson TED Talk (2010): “Changing Education Paradigms”

3) Sir Kenneth Robinson TED Talk (2015): “Bring on the learning revolution!”

Foundations of phenomenal ecology as a cornerstone of the emerging field of environmental anthropology (i.e., phenomenal ecology)

4) Abram D (1996) The spell of the sensuous: language and perception in a more than human world. Random House, Toronto

5) Abram D (2020) In the ground of our unknowing; COVID essay

6) Ingold T (2011) The Perception of the Environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill, 2nd edn. Routledge, London.

7) Orr Y, Lansing JS, Dove MR (2015) Environmental Anthropology: Systemic Perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology 44(1): 153-168.

8) van der Linden S, Maibach E, Leiserowitz A (2015) Improving public engagement with climate change: five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspect Psychol Sci 10:758-763. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598516

Experience preeminent over facts

9) Kubin E, Curtis P, Schein C, Gray K (2021) Personal experiences bridge moral and political divides better than facts Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Feb 2021, 118 (6) e2008389118. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2008389118

Scientific literacy as a polarizing force and the antidote of curiosity (i.e., limitations of reason, information exchange, and filling information gaps)

1) Kahan DM, Peters E, Wittlin M, Slovic P, Ouellette LL, Braman D, Mandel G (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nat Climate Change 2:732-735

2) Dan Kahan (2018) “Are Smart People Ruining Democracy?” TED Talk 

Knowledge systems 1&2; human behavior privileging experience over reason/analysis

3) van der Linden S, Maibach E, Leiserowitz A (2015) Improving public engagement with climate change: five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspect Psychol Sci 10:758-763. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598516

4) Kubin E, Curtis P, Schein C, Gray K (2021) Personal experiences bridge moral and political divides better than facts Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Feb 2021, 118 (6) e2008389118. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2008389118

Recognizing non-material benefits and values within human well-being

5) Leong KM, Wongbusarakum S, Ingram RJ, Mawyer A, and Poe MR (2019) Improving Representation of Human Well-Being and Cultural Importance in Conceptualizing the West Hawai‘i Ecosystem. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:231. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00231

6) Berejnoi E, Messer D, Cloutier S. Cultivating Spiritual Well-Being for Sustainability: A Pilot Study. Sustainability. 2020; 12(24):10342.

The power of peers

1) Per Espen Stoknes TedTalk: “How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming”

2) Amel E, Manning C, Scott B, Koger S (2017) Beyond the roots of human inaction: fostering collective effort toward ecosystem conservation. Science, 356(6335), 275-279. doi: 10.1126/science.aal1931

The power of trust

3) Stephen M. R. Covey is co-founder of CoveyLink and of the FranklinCovey Global Speed of Trust Practice – website

The Speed of Trust videos (2017):

Counterfeit Behaviors Destructive of Trust

The Role of Trust in Collaboration

The Role of Trust in Innovation

Mental models (identity framework)

1) Abram D (1996) The spell of the sensuous: language and perception in a more than human world. Random House, Toronto

2) Jones N, Ross H, Lynam T, Perez P, Leitch A (2011) Mental models: an interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods. Ecology and Society 16:46.

3) Bruine de Bruin, W., Rabinovich, L., Weber, K. et al. Public understanding of climate change terminology. Climatic Change 167, 37 (2021).

4) Implicit bias: Anne Gillies, Oregon State University, January 12, 2018 YouTube video

5) Theory-U; action research originating at MIT has developed specific pathways through which to develop overlooked but essential leadership capacities in teams and individuals from the emergent Self.

Otto Scharmer (MIT) presents Deep listening as derived from Emergence Theory

Unconscious explaining away of uncomfortable scenarios

6) Cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias: Tavris, C., & Aronson, E. (2007). Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. Harcourt.

Conscious recognition of hot and cold behaviors (knowledge systems 1&2)

6) Vedantam, S, R Cohen, T Boyle, J. Schmidt (2019). In The Heat of the Moment: How Intense Emotions Transform Us (hot/cold empathy gaps). Hidden Brain, NPR

7) van der Linden S, Maibach E, Leiserowitz A (2015) Improving public engagement with climate change: five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspect Psychol Sci 10:758-763. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598516

The Psychology of Shifting Human Behavior

Research in psychology and cognitive science has made clear that humans do not always make decisions according to objective reason and logic. Rather, human behavior is more profoundly based upon deeply-rooted affect (emotion) and experiential capacities that are driven by person-to-person and person-to-nature interactions, group norms and values, individual values, perceptions, instincts, intuitions, and related visceral factors that collectively define one’s identity or worldview (Ingold 2011; Jones et al. 2011; Kahan et al. 2012; van der Linden et al. 2015; Jones et al. 2016, Amel et al. 2017, Laursen et al. 2018).

To move beyond simply “actionable science” (the possibility of action) and engage action through science, our program is designed to build upon existing in-person professional networks locally through the process of knowledge co-production. We feel that regularly supporting person-to-person and person-to-nature relationships (i.e., situated or embodied knowledge) within local networks harnesses multiple knowledge forms and provides a platform for recognizing and supporting a wide range of participants and worldviews through place-based experiences (Ingold 2011, Winter et al. 2020). In doing so, we can account for and directly engage the full breadth of influences that drive human behavior in our effort to build adaptive capacity through major socio-ecological shifts to develop increasingly sustainable lifestyles.

Several canoes and teams racing in ocean with support boats and helicopter surrounding.
The start of the 63rd annual Molokaʻi Hoe outrigger canoe race, October 2015. The collaborative networks and in-person experience that define the Molokaʻi Hoe are also fundamental guiding principles of our MCC program. To excel in this 40+ mile outrigger canoe race, crews must have extensive experience paddling together, instinctive awareness of one another's abilities, and collective resilience to unforgiving and ever-changing ocean conditions. Photo credit: www.808photo.me

In-Person Collaboration: research products that influence human behavior and build capacity

Participants gathered on the rim of Hāʻao spring where there is a deep rocky crevasse.
Camp attendees track freshwater flow, long utilized by human cultures in Kaʻū, from its mauka source at Hāʻao Spring (2,300 ft) to its entrance into the ocean. Photo credit: McClymont, USGS

The MCC seeks to empower cultural adaptation amid contemporary climate change impacts by building upon existing, in-person relationships across worldviews and rooting research efforts within strong local manager networks that manifest trust (Winter et al. 2020). Employing knowledge co-production within our growing professional networks, shifts applied research pathways toward the creation of valuable research products that are readily utilized by managers and policy professionals on the ground. This is due to the direct involvement of resource stewards as co-leads throughout the scientific process and the resulting vested interest in the collaborative products. In this manner, the MCC unites manager and researcher networks through highly collaborative research pathways and embeds the scientific process within specific biocultural land and seascapes.

Dive Deeper: 2018 publication in Environmental Management
Read More: 2021 MCC poster, 2020 case study

Abram D (1996) The spell of the sensuous: language and perception in a more than human world. Random House, Toronto

Amel E, Manning C, Scott B, Koger S (2017) Beyond the roots of human inaction: fostering collective effort toward ecosystem conservation. Science, 356(6335), 275-279.

Ingold T (2011) The Perception of the Environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill, 2nd edn. Routledge, London.

Jones N, Ross H, Lynam T, Perez P, Leitch A (2011) Mental models: an interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods. Ecology and Society 16:46. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss1/art46

Jones N, Shaw S, Ross H, Witt K, Pinner B (2016) The study of human values in understanding and managing social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 21(1):15. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07977-210115

Juvik, S. and J. Juvik. (1998) Atlas of Hawaiʻi. University of Hawaiʻi Press, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

Kahan DM, Peters E, Wittlin M, Slovic P, Ouellette LL, Braman D, Mandel G (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nat Climate Change 2:732-735

Laursen S, Puniwai N, Genz AS, Nash SAB, Canale LK, and Ziegler-Chong S (2018) Collaboration across worldviews: managers and scientists on Hawaiʻi Island utilize knowledge coproduction to facilitate climate change adaptation. Environmental Management 62(4): 619-630

McMillen H, Ticktin T, Springer HK (2017) The future is behind us: traditional ecological knowledge and resilience over time on Hawai ‘i Island. Regional Environmental Change 17(2): 579-592. DOI 10.1007/s10113-016-1032-1

van der Linden S, Maibach E, Leiserowitz A (2015) Improving public engagement with climate change: five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspect Psychol Sci 10:758-763. doi: 10.1177/1745691615598516

Winter, KB, K Beamer, MB Vaughan, AM Friedlander, MH Kido, AN Whitehead, MKH Akutagawa, N Kurashima, MP Lucas, and B Nyberg (2018) “The Moku System: Managing Biocultural Resources for Abundance within Social-Ecological Regions in Hawaiʻi” Sustainability 10, no. 10: 3554. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103554

Winter KB, Rii YM, Reppun FAWL, Hintzen KD, Alegado RA, Bowen BW, Bremer LL, Coffman M, Deenik JL, Donahue MJ, Falinski KA, Frank K, Franklin EC, Kurashima N, Kekuewa Lincoln N, Madin EMP, McManus MA, Nelson CE, Okano R, Olegario A, Pascua P, Oleson KLL, Price MR, Rivera MJ, Rodgers KS, Ticktin T, Sabine CL, Smith CM, Hewett A, Kaluhiwa R, Cypher M, Thomas B, Leong J-A, Kekuewa K, Tanimoto J, Kukea-Shultz K, Kawelo A, Kotubetey K, Neilson BJ, Lee TS, Toonen RJ (2020) Collaborative research to inform adaptive comanagement: a framework for the Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve. Ecology and Society 25(4):15. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-11895-250415

QUICK LINKS

CONTACTS

Scott Laursen, Climate Adaptation Extension Specialist
slaursen@hawaii.edu

Darcy Yogi, Partnership Ecologist
dyogi@usgs.gov

Dr. Jim Beets, University Consortium Lead
beets@hawaii.edu
(808) 932-7506