Environment vs. economy: Outcomes can be win-win according to recent research

Illustration of a sun setting behind a city skyline with an orange skyClimate change is an ever-present and ever-pressing issue that has the attention of national and world leaders. On Nov. 23, 2018, the United States federal climate report was released. Several days later, U.N. world leaders met in Poland for two weeks of climate change negotiations. Scientists and researchers remain committed to finding solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges. Among them is Senior Sustainability Scientist Mark Roseland, professor and director of the School of Community Resources and Development. Roseland’s research article with colleagues Robert Newell and Ann Dale, both professors in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Canada, was recently recognized with the International Award for Excellence by the International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses. “This is a big deal because the award is from an international journal,” Roseland said. “Once a year, they select the best article from that year. So, to be honored by your peers like that is quite a substantial recognition.” The article focuses on how climate action through integrated sustainability strategies can yield benefits for communities in more effective ways than through compartmentalized approaches. One difficulty in addressing climate, noted Roseland, is tradeoffs — some real, some perceived. There is a pervasive notion that to take action in favor of the environment will cost more in another area, like the economy — two arenas often pitted against one another when discussing spending and allocation of resources. The article, titled “Climate Action Co-benefits and Integrated Community Planning,” demonstrates that, at a community level, climate change adaptation can create co-benefits rather than tradeoffs, and that those benefits can generate a positive, self-perpetuating cycle.