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1. To What Extent Are Politicians And Policy Makers In Your Assigned Region Committed To Adaptation?

Question One: Politicians And Policy Makers Commitment

The effects of climate changes are already being experienced in various countries and regions with Buzzards Bay being no exception. Continuous rise in temperatures are unavoidable in the rest of the century according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Various instruments notably the Kyoto Protocol have played a big role on policies and governance of environment related issues though a number of concerns have sprouted from the same. Climate change adaptations have not existed without attracting political ideas and actions even at Buzzards Bay. The involvement of politics on environmental matters has been observed to be either beneficial or detrimental to environmental management issues in this region. Regardless of the existing solutions and policies that aim at protecting and conserving the environment of Buzzards Bay, the implementation has been a challenge with a given fraction of this hindrance being directed towards people in political positions. The region other than generally being suitable to adapt international policies and programs that fit its environmental demands, requires precise policies and programs that are customised to its needs. This need is subject to debates that either end up positive or devastating to the environment of Buzzards Bay.

Policy makers in this region are reluctant to make decisions on certain intended plans that are aimed at cleanup. When such actions are taken by the government, their agencies or politicians, it is the Buzzards Bay’s environment and the society that feel the injustices. The Buzzards Bay coalition and Westport Fisherman’s Association (WFA) did file a notice to sue the government precisely the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not approving or rather disapproving a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the rivers in Westport. This initiative has existed for the past 15 years and it significantly serves as a nitrogen cleanup plan for the rivers in Westport. The stalling by EPA over the plan simply means that the society at Westport cannot act on the alarming nitrogen pollution. The president of the coalition, Mark Rasmussen expressly put their intentions to proceed with the plan against the silence of the policy makers and mitigate on the state of the waters in Westport. According to the Clean Water Act, the plan submitted on 10th February 2017 ought to have been approved or disapproved within 60 days.

Some politician and policy makers take individual initiatives using their status to positively impact on the environment in Buzzards Bay. Through regulations, donations and approvals, they facilitate mitigations to adopting to the climate changes in the region. The Buzzards Bay coalition recognises the extent of their efforts towards ensuring the restoration of its environment by annually presenting two Guardian awards. David Pinkham who worked in EPA for close to 35 years received this awards for his efforts in reduction of pollution in New Bedford and Wareham and his zealous advocacy for reduction of nitrogen in all discharges in the region.

Politicians and policy makers offer financial support to activities that aim at mitigating the environmental pollution impacts in Buzzards Bay. Through EPA which is a government agency, funds are made available to the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. The body then finances eligible municipal programmes that are intended to ensure the region enjoys a healthy and sustainable environment for both the humans and other living organisms.

Politicians make the legislative bodies which are responsible for statutes that protect the environment in Buzzards Bay either generally or at municipal levels. Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, Massachusetts General Laws Relating Marine Fish and Fisheries, Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act are just but examples of the extent to which politicians and policy makers are able to go in terms of providing legislations and regulations that seek to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development in Buzzards Bay.

Question Two: Factors that Trigger Adaptation of Large Scale Policies at the Local Level

Buzzards Bay brings together various municipalities each with their own administrations and environmental issues to handle. However, adoption of policies that address the problems of the entire region rather than approaching them locally in some instances more effective and ought to be embraced.

Common challenges trigger adoption of large scale policies at the local level. When disasters such as hurricanes emanating from climatic changes that are caused by alterations in state of the environment strike, they do not restrict themselves to a given locality but hit a great portion of Buzzards Bay. Measures to mitigate against such devastations for example the construction of hurricane barriers are formulated at the regional level but find equal significance at the local levels.

Limited resources create the need for adopting large scale policies at the local levels. In most instances, the plans aimed at handling pollution and dealing with environmental adversities such as erosion, loss of marine life and hurricanes require a lot of resources either in form of human, technological or financial. This makes it hard for a single municipality to address the challenges individually. Pooling together of resources and policies to handle this challenges at regional level using bodies such as Buzzards Bay National Estuary program not only suits the entire region but ensures at the local level a degree of ease is created in handling such challenges.

Measures before Investing in Long Term Adaptation Projects

Various environmental challenges require different levels of attention and urgency. With the region having been identified to be under crisis, both long term and short term projects find their place in attempts to solve the challenges. It is crucial that before investing in long term adaptation projects the cities tackle various challenges that would probably escalate when all focus is shifted to the projects that have long spans. Mitigation and prioritization js thus crucial considerations before investing in long term adaptation projects.

Mitigating the current challenge is an important step to ensuring the success of future projects. The City of New Bedford for example in addressing the hurricane and storm challenges did establish a barrier. The structure is not perfect in handle potential Category 3 hurricanes but it currently serves right to protect the people form implications of lesser impact hurricanes. The absence of such a barrier even if it cannot stand up to some severity of hurricanes and storms will mean that the population in New Bedford City are completely not adapted to handling any form of flooding arising from storms or hurricanes.

Proper planning and approval of long term adaptation projects should be considered. Projects that are intended to go over long periods of time significantly seek to restore or improve the environmental status. When such long term projects take long before they are approved or upon approval are not implementable owing to lack of effective plans, the adversities of on the climate continue to be experienced at their expense and such can reach irretrievable levels.

Types of Learning Capable of Creating Substantive Policy Change

Learning through experiencing can shape the policies on environment. During resilience the policies arise out of the experience of a given society in regards to environmental pollution or degradation. When people fear facing what they have faced such as effects of oil spills, they come up with policies that prevent or reduce chances of the same event reoccurring. The policies in some cases are made in a rush and may not be substantive.

Learning through trends helps in creating substantive policies. Buzzards Bay is geographical vast on the shores and a given impact on the environment such as extinction of cetin species of fish or rise in temperatures cannot be spontaneously noticed or experienced even though the cities sharing the waters tend to exhibit similar environmental characteristic. Using occurrences in other cities that have not yet hit a given society can be crucial in coming up with vital policies.

References

“City of New Bedford, Massachusetts.” New Bedford Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan – Emergency Management – City of New Bedford Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

“Study Reveals Climate Change Impacts on Buzzards Bay.” News Releases. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 21 Jan. 2016. Web. <http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/BuzzardsBay

“BBNEP 2015 SNEP Grant Awards (Round 2): January 2016.” Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2017.

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