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Trying hard to adapt to a chaotic world: How complex challenges overwhelmed best intentions

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Trying hard to adapt to a chaotic world: How complex challenges overwhelmed best intentions
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  Trying hard to adapt to a chaotic world: How complex challenges overwhelmedbest intentions ☆ Christopher J. Orr †  a , Kathleen C. Williams †  b, ⁎ , Katrina L. Laurent c , Kathryn B. Friedman d , Gail Krantzberg e ,Donald Scavia f  , Irena F. Creed c a Department of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada b Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA c Department of Biology, Western University, London, Ontario N6A 5B7, Canada d University at Buffalo Regional Institute, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA e Centre for Engineering and Public Policy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L7, Canada f  School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o  Article history: Received 26 October 2013Accepted 3 May 2014Available online xxxxCommunicated by William D. Taylor Index words: Climate change adaptationEnvironmental policyGrassroots organizationSense of placeSocial transformation Inthisfuture,citizensof the Great Lakes-St.LawrenceRiverbasinrecognizetheirdependenceuponand becameunited around a common vision for a thriving Great Lakes basin. However, in 2063 the environment andeconomy are out of balance; citizens are constantly forced to make dif  fi cult trade-offs. Climate warming,geopolitical pressures such as environmental refugees, an aging population, and a sluggish economy haveoverwhelmed the region's efforts to  fi nd a balance that would have ensured human prosperity withoutdiminishing the integrity of the Great Lakes basin. This narrative illustrates the time period 2013 to 2063,depicting how the collision of multiple drivers of change cause declining social and environmental conditions,and force a gradual transformation in societal values. While society was initially complacent, the groundwork forsocial transformation was laid over three decades. Impacts of education programs, opposition to environmentallydegradingnaturalresourceextraction,andwidespreadeffectsofbothfailingsocialservicesandphysicalinfrastruc-turegalvanizegrassrootsmobilizationofcommunitiesaround “ icelesshockeyrink ” meetings.Thesemeetingsactasacatalyst,translatingthissocialmovementintogovernancethatworkstowardsacommonvisionbasedonsharedvalues.However,despiteinnovativetechnologiesandcohesiveefforts,itbecomesobviousthatattemptstoopposethe complex and interrelated forces driving changes in the Great Lakes region are limited. These efforts come athuge economic costs, and the harsh reality forces people in the region to make dif  fi cult decisions that threatensome facets of economic, social and environmental well-being while protecting others.© 2014 International Association for Great Lakes Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Introduction The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin is of vital importance tomillionsofCanadiansandAmericansbecauseitprovidesfortheirsocialandphysicalwell-being.However,planningforthefutureischallengingbecause envisioning future conditions is complex and uncertain. Sce-nario analysis provides a structured approach to explore highly uncer-tain future conditions through plausible narratives (Schwartz, 1996).Narrativesthatdescribescenariosallowreaderstosuspendtheirdisbe-lief in alternative future conditions and enable them to consider howpresent decisions may affect the future. Careful consideration of thesedecisionsandtheirpotentiallong-termimpactsenablesustobetterfor-mulateinformedandeffectivepolicies.Thepurposeofthisfuturehisto-ryistopresentoneof fourplausible scenarios oftheGreatLakesregionfrom 2013 to 2063 as part of a collaborative process to inform policy.This future history,  “ Trying Hard to Adapt, ”  represents the scenariothatoccupiesthelower-rightquadrantofatwo-dimensionalcoordinateplane, with the horizontal x-axis representing the human capacity forchange and the vertical y-axis a balanced environment and economy(Laurent et al., in this issue). We present a plausible narrative of howthe Great Lakes region came to be characterized by a strong imbalanceinthedesiredmixofenvironmentalandeconomicconditions,whileso-cietyin2063isabletoadapt,havingdevelopedastronghumancapacityfor change. Imbalance between the environment and economy, asde fi ned by society, manifested in diverse ways throughout the region:society is degrading ecological services, it is trying to improve environ-mentalconditionsbylimitingeconomicgrowth,orbothsocioeconomic  Journal of Great Lakes Research xxx (2014) xxx – xxx ☆  The Great Lakes Futures Project brought together graduate students and expertmentors from universities and institutions in Canada and the United States. Each paper re-quiredcollaborationbetweenanumberofauthorswithmanyofthemsharingco-leadershipthat we denote using a  †⁎  Corresponding author at: Department of Geography, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI53201-0413, USA. Tel.: +1 414 303 3078. E-mail address:  kcw2@uwm.edu (K.C. Williams † ).  JGLR-00829; No. of pages: 11; 4C: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.0030380-1330/© 2014 International Association for Great Lakes Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Contents lists available at ScienceDirect  Journal of Great Lakes Research  journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jglr Please citethis article as: Orr † , C.J.,etal., Tryinghard toadapt toa chaoticworld:How complex challenges overwhelmed bestintentions, J GreatLakes Res (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.003  and environmental conditions are relatively degraded. This narrativeillustrates the social and environmental transformation experiencedby residents of the Great Lakes region in  fi ve chapters. Scenario overview  The global context within which the Great Lakes region is situatedevolved rapidly in the 50 years since 2013; human civilization neededto be agile and adaptable to keep up. Globally, climate change andhumanactionswreakedhavocontheworld.In2063,astrugglingglobaleconomy is only one of many worries. Global sea levels rose andextreme events devastated several major coastal cities, inundating theGreat Lakes region withenvironmental refugees. Poor livingconditionsandalackofbasicneeds,suchasfoodandcleanwater,haveexacerbatedgeopolitical tensions and contribute to instability in an interconnectedworld.Globalsocietyhasrisentothesechallenges.ArestructuredUnitedNations (UN) created the United Nations Environment Organization(UNEO), endowning it with the necessary capacities and institutionalstructuretoinitiateunprecedentedglobalcooperationandaction,some-thing its predecessor had been incapable of achieving (Ivanova, 2005). However,theseefforts havenot beenenoughtoresolvesocialpressuresfrom increasing population and consumption or to allow peoples of theworld to  fi nd a balance that will ensure human prosperity withoutdiminishing the integrity and vibrancy of the world around them.WithintheGreatLakesregion,citizenshavebeendesperatelytryingtoaddresseconomicandenvironmentalproblemsinarapidlychangingregional and global context. They have been constantly trying to adaptto their changing social and physical context, but have been facedwith new challenges much like the mythical Sisyphus, who wascursedto push a boulder up a hill only to repeat his toils when it would rollbacktothebottom(Camus,1955).TheGreatLakesregionhasremainedvulnerable to geopolitical, economic, demographic and climate pres-sures.Citizenshavebeenunabletobalanceeconomic activityandenvi-ronmental integrity within natural constraints, despite strong politicalwill and human capacity to effect change. Citizens have been tryinghard to adapt to environmental and economic changes, but the realityis that they have not been able to keep up (Fig. 1).Inthisscenario,theyear2063ischaracterizedbyastronghumanca-pacity for change. Governments and stakeholders on both sides of thebordersupportabinationalvisionofahealthyGreatLakesbasin,recog-nizing it as the region's life support system and source for both socialand economic prosperity. The result has been strong implementationof policies that further this vision. All levels of authority in both coun-triesapproachgovernanceoftheGreatLakesbasinfromtheperspectiveof maintaining the ecosystem services that the lakes provide forsociety's physical, cultural and spiritual sustenance, rather than merelyasa resourceto be used and consumed for shipping,power generation,commercial  fi shing, agriculture and consumptive uses. Having learnedfrom past dif  fi culties implementing policies, the US and Canadian gov-ernments developed a cohesive approach to Great Lakes basin gover-nance based on the need for adaptation strategies. These efforts wereresponsive to citizen demands, incorporating extensive consultationswith local, tribal, and provincial governments.Whilegovernancecapacityhasgrownandmatured, theeconomyand environment have remained out of balance. In 2063, largeshockstotheeconomyandenvironmentthreatentocausetheentiresocio-ecologicalsystemtosinkfurtherintoadegradedstate.Climatewarming and human impacts have caused water level and growingseason changes, accompanied by an explosion of invasive species(Appendix A). Degradation of the environment has created feedbacksthat stress both the economy and the environment. Populationpressures and increasing consumption have continued to exacerbatean already unbalanced system while technological and economic  fi xeshave remained futile. Dedicated funding and careful planning havebeen insuf  fi cient for the plethora of new problems that continuallyemerge. These problems include the costs of adapting to the impactsof climate change, which have been immense and have drained theeconomy. Severe  fl oods and droughts, the disappearance of reliablewinter snows, the drying up of harbors, and outbreaks of disease haveimpacted many economic sectors and features of life in the GreatLakes region. Changes have been too great and too rapid for humanefforts to keep pace. Scenario narrative Cracks in the foundation: how the Great Lakes region's early warning systems failed (2013 –  2023) “ Ifyoudropafroginapotofboilingwater,itwillofcoursefranticallytry to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid waterand turn the heat on low, it will  fl oat there quite placidly. As thewater gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor,exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smileon its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled todeath . ” —  Quinn (1996, p. 258)From the perspective of the year 2063, some might ask how weended up in the world we live in today. Why did we not clue intowhat was to come  fi fty years ago? The answer to the second questionprovides some insight into the  fi rst: in 2013, we recognized that thereweremanyproblems,butwedidnotrecognizetheirfullextent,theirin-terconnected nature, or the need to act. Politicians remained reactive,refusing to make policies to anticipate problems and prevent them.We kept hittingthe snoozebutton in spite of the subtle signs of changethat were all around us.CitizensoftheGreatLakesregionignoredsymboliclandmarksalongwith the rest of the world, including when the global populationsurpassed seven billion people and atmospheric CO 2  levels surged past400 parts per million (NASA, 2013; PRB, 2012). Meanwhile, Earth'ssixth mass extinction loomed like a foreboding cloud over many of theplanet's diverse ecosystems, including the Great Lakes native  fi sheries,which threatened to disappear forever (Barnosky et al., 2011; Wormet al., 2006). Unsettling alarm bells kept going off, one after the other,butitalwaysseemedasthoughwecouldgetthingsbackundercontrol.For example, 2013 wasa good year for maple syrupand wild ricecaus-ing us to quickly forget that both had failed in 2012 (Myers, 2012;WZZM, 2013). West Nile Virus was repeatedly found throughout thesouthernGreatLakesregion,butwaslargelyignoredbecauseitaffectedbirds far more than humans (Githeko et al., 2000; OSUE, 2008). Some places enjoyed extended skiing seasons only to be forced to plantcrops a month late as a result of unseasonably late snows (Curtis,2013). In 2017, lake water levels hit record lows for the second timeinadecade(Fig.2).LocalgovernmentsbeganlobbyingtheInternational JointCommissiontoimplementasolution,althoughtheyfailedtoagreeon what that solution should be (GLSLC, 2013). Shoreline propertyowners were inconvenienced but inactive, as  Phragmites  invaded theshores of the Detroit River, Georgian Bay and Green Bay, obstructingviewsandloweringtheirpropertyvalues.Meanwhile,lakewaterlevelsretreated and beaches were exposed. Each time we hit the snooze but-ton. Each time we went back to sleep.Citizens remained unengaged while governance in the Great Lakesregionwasleftfragmentedand complacent. Althoughwell-craftedpol-icies held promise to protect the Great Lakes region's water resources,unfortunately, the care and attention that went into crafting policieswerenottranslatedintopolicyimplementation.Thepoliticalsensitivityand potentialfor failure of keypolicies suchastheGreatLakes-St.Law-rence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the Compact) and theGreatLakesWaterQualityAgreement(GLWQA)wereoverlookedorig-nored until crises became apparent (IJC, 2012; USFG, 2008). For exam-ple, the  fi rst challenge to the Compact was an application for a water 2  C.J. Orr  †   et al. / Journal of Great Lakes Research xxx (2014) xxx –  xxx Please citethis article as: Orr † , C.J.,etal., Tryinghard toadapt toa chaoticworld:How complex challenges overwhelmed bestintentions, J GreatLakes Res (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.003  diversion from Waukesha, Wisconsin submitted in 2013. Although itmet the requirements for a diversion of water out of the Great Lakesbasin, the issue became highly politicized and polarized. US governorswhowantedtoprotecttheregionopposedtheapplicationfordiversion,whileothersinterpreteditsrejectionasanassaultoneconomicgrowth.Polarization over the decision to not approve the diversion fomentedpolitical con fl ict over resource use in the Great Lakes region, resultingin negotiations that lacked political support and legitimacy.Meanwhile, to implement the 2012 GLWQA, both national govern-mentsreliedoncompetitivestrategiessuchastheGreatLakesGuardianFund and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to  fi nance restorationprojects in Canada and the US, respectively (Ontario Ministry of theEnvironment (OMoE), 2010a; USFG, 2010). The number of requests forfundsfaroutstrippedtheamountoffundsavailable,pittingcommu-nitiesandinstitutionsagainsteachotherandcontributingtotheunevenrestoration of the GreatLakes basin (Lemos and Agrawal, 2006; USEPA,2013). Increased production of commodity crops was fuelled bydemand for ethanol from corn aswell asheightened global food prices.Asaresult,agriculturalpollutionbegantostressthewaterqualityofthelakes.FragmentedUSagriculturalpoliciesfurtherexacerbatedproblemsof water quality. As early as 2015, provisions for funding conservationpractices for farmers, including conservation easements, set-asides,and other measures were dramatically reduced. The result was the in-creased tillage of land in sensitive areas, leading to increased nutrientloading of lakes and large algal blooms in Lake Erie. Dead zones inLake Erie increased and reached beyond near-shore areas to coverover 775 km 2 (Hunt, 2013; NOAA, 2013). Ironically, on the Canadianside of Lake Erie, conservation authorities had begun implementingbest management practices to control nutrient loading, but sufferedclosed beaches despite their efforts. This example demonstrates howenvironmental policies that impacted the same resource had becomeincongruent. US agricultural policy had reduced funding for land andwater conservation, while the Government of Ontario had increasedfunding. Both policies impacted Lake Erie, but their effects were coun-terproductive, resulting in deteriorated water quality in the GreatLakes region.WhiletheUSandCanadiangovernmentsstruggledtomanageenvi-ronmentalproblemsandmaintain fi shstocks,indigenouspeoplessetan Fig. 1. Citizens havebeen trying hard to adapt to environmental and economicchanges, butthereality isthat they havenot been able to keep up. Original artwork illustratesthe “ tryinghard to adapt ”  scenario for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin in the year 2063.3 C.J. Orr  †   et al. / Journal of Great Lakes Research xxx (2014) xxx –  xxx Please citethis article as: Orr † , C.J.,etal., Tryinghard toadapt toa chaoticworld:How complex challenges overwhelmed bestintentions, J GreatLakes Res (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.003  alternative example of howto manageour relationship with nature ac-cordingtotraditionalmethodsthatbalancedhumanandenvironmentalhealth rather than solely pursuing economic growth. By the beginningof the 2020s, Native American and First Nations communities hadbegun more consolidated and focused resistance to mineral extractionand conventional  fi sheries management practices. This resistance wasbased on spiritual tradition, scienti fi c evidence, and lessons learnedthroughout the last decade. For example, in Northern Wisconsin nearLakeSuperior,aminingdisputepromptedthecollectionanddocumen-tation of endangered plants and animals, as well as extensive wetlandmapping (SWE, 2013). Much of this data, collected by biologists fromNative American tribes, as well as conservation of  fi cers and scientists,was widely and publicly disseminated. Another example that spurredthismovementwaswhenFirstNationsontheeasternsideofLakeSupe-rior legally challenged the Canadian government on their water man-agement practices and the resulting loss of   fi sheries (SooToday.comStaff,2013).Theseeffortsintroduceddifferentwaysofthinking,demon-strating alternative approaches to resource use (contrary to resourceexploitation for economic gain), aswell asresourcemanagementstrat-egies for long-term rather than short-term bene fi t (Appendix A).These initiatives, combined with extensive outreach and educationactivities, began fostering a shared identity, as well as a social connec-tionto,andengagementwiththeGreatLakesasaregion.NGOs,educa-tional institutions and activists initiated a broad array of educationalefforts to engage citizens of all ages. Initiatives ranged from birdingandcanoetripstoprojectsthatengagedcitizenscientists.Educationef-forts initiated through university partnerships used education to con-nect students to their waterways and develop capacity in teachers.Place-based education, a pedagogical approach, provided an avenuefor citizens to learn about their watersheds through experience, creat-ing understanding of, and emotional attachment to, the Great Lakesbasin (Semken and Freeman, 2008). These efforts used streams and lakes as classrooms, engaging students to ask questions, collect dataand present results (Fig. 2). Other educators worked in communitiestobringpeopletotheirriversthroughtrips,lecturesandcitizensciencetraining. These experiences laid the early groundwork for more wide-spread changes to come. Rude awakening (2023 –  2033) “ Our complete negligence has been matched only by our ignorance.We have sat idly by while the walls of our home have crumbledaround us. Only when drops from above dampen our mood do weglance skyward and realize that the roof is also gone. ” —  WinterBoisvert, Green Party of Canada 2032The2020ssawthecollisionofmultipleforcesandresultedinarudeawakening for citizens of the Great Lakes region. They woke up almostscalded to death, like the metaphorical frog in a pot while the heat isslowlyturnedup.Amorassofclimatechange,environmentalcrises,de-mographic transition, and geopoliticalpressures combined ina meltingpotofdisasterthroughoutthe2020s.Forexample,scientistscouldonlywatch, slack-jawed in horror during the summer of 2024 as the Arcticseaicecompletelymelted(Derksenetal.,2012;Fig.2).Meltingperma- frost in Canada's north sent environmental refugees trickling south, astraditionalnativelifestylesbecameunviable.TheGreatLakesregionbe-came one of the main destinations for those displaced within NorthAmerica and from abroad. Many tried to settle in and around LakeOntario, hoping to  fi nd employment. The economy, not yet fully recov-ered from the recession during the 2010s, provided few refugees withdesirable jobs and local residents did not welcome increased competi-tion for employment. At the same time, there were no provisions inthe Canadian Immigration and Protection and US immigration laws toprovideforenvironmentalrefugeesthatenteredfromabroad.Refugeesand governments were forced to navigate these challenges to ensurenewcomers were able to integrate. While immigration policy in the20th Century was based on economic opportunity, immigration in the21st Century came to be based on environmental conditions such asthe availability of clean water and a temperate climate (Appendix A).Meanwhile, aging baby boomers retiring in droves became an in-creasing drain on the economy. A  fl ood of retirees strained pensionand healthcare systems (Echenberg, 2012; SC, 2013). As increasingnumbers of individuals grew older, they began  fi lling retirement hous-ing beyond capacity; the Great Lakes region had failed to plan for suchalargewaveofretirees.Atthesametime,insuf  fi cientpensionsandsav-ingsforcedmanyoftraditionalretirementagetocontinueworking.Ex-pectations that high retirement rates would liberate jobs for youngergenerations had been overestimated as those reaching retirement agewere forced to continue workingtosupport themselves. With ominousrumblings, these examples heralded the enormity of the problems thatthe Great Lakes region was not prepared to face.Governance in the Great Lakes region was particularly unpreparedfor the extent, the interconnectedness and the complexity of the prob-lems it faced. Its inability to adequately deal with these problems wasrooted in policy failures that haunted it from the past. Decision-makers assumed that existing policies, including the GLWQA, theClean Water Act, and the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting theGreat Lakes basin would be enough to protect the lakes (IJC, 2012;Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OMoE), 2006; Ontario Ministryof the Environment (OMoE), 2010b). However, continued divergenceof Canadian and US policy directions, as well as divergence betweeneach county's own levels of government, left voids in responsibility.Forexample,revisionstotheCanadianFisheriesActre fl ectedanationalretreat from waterways protection, while the Great Lakes GuardianFund demonstrated Ontario's commitment to remediation and habitatrestoration in the basin (GC, 2013). In the US, the Great Lakes Restora-tionInitiativedemonstratedthefederalcommitmenttohabitatrestora-tion, while several states gutted their environmental protection laws.Thesedivergencesbetweenpolicies,combinedwitha lackofresources,meantthatpolicies suchastheCompactactedaslegalshields,allowinginaction by appearing to address a need that they were incapable of ful fi lling.Multiple interrelated factors caused the failure of the Compact,which in turn caused cascading impacts. Starting in 2026 and continu-ing into the 2030s, global food prices were pushed high in response toglobal shortages and drought in Central and South America. Combinedwith warmer growing conditions, agricultural production and exportbecame increasingly pro fi table across the US and in Canada's prairieprovinces. However, continued withdrawals from aquifers acrossNorth America led to increasing water shortages and con fl icts in theGreat Plains states and provinces. Economic and political pressures toexport water to these areas mounted. Although the Great Lakes Com-pacthadprotectedthelakesfromwaterexportsuntilthen,theeconom-ic case to export water to thirsty states that once relied on the OgallalaAquifer became too strongtonot pursue(Fig. 2).TheCanadiangovern-ment,infuriatedbythesaleofasharedwaterresource,restricteditssaleofsomeminingproductstotheUS,precipitatingacrisisinmanyindus-tries.FailureoftheCompactmeantnotonlyfallinglakewaterlevelsbutalsostrainedtradingrelationshipsthroughdeliberateviolationofinter-national trade agreements.Erratic and extreme weather events  –  fl oods and droughts  –  placedincreasingpressureonagriculturalsystemsandinfrastructure.Changesin the US Farm Bill meant that riparian buffers of the past were longgone. Erosion and nutrient loading into Lake Erie from the USoverwhelmed the effects of best management practices being imple-mented in Canada. Decreased lake water levels, accompanied byincreasesinperiodicrainfallandwarmertemperatures,meantthecon-tinued re-emergence of the anoxic region in Lake Erie every August.Algalbloomsof300 – 1000km 2 becamecommon,makingitincreasinglyexpensive to treat water in the western Lake Erie basin. Unable to 4  C.J. Orr  †   et al. / Journal of Great Lakes Research xxx (2014) xxx –  xxx Please citethis article as: Orr † , C.J.,etal., Tryinghard toadapt toa chaoticworld:How complex challenges overwhelmed bestintentions, J GreatLakes Res (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.003  handle increased demands on their infrastructure, several cities' watertreatment and supply systems failed, requiring boil water advisories.Inadequate funding, monitoring, and regulation exacerbated prob-lemsofintegrationandaccountability.Forexample,thebreedingpopu-lation of Asian carp that started reproducing in the tributaries of theSandusky River in the early 2010s went unaddressed in the GreatLakes basin, becoming more established as state and federal agencieswrestled with questions of accountability. The US federal governmentpriority for keeping navigable waterways open clashed with individualstate desires to prevent the invasive  fi sh from spreading further in thelakes. Once introduced, lack of clarity on state, provincial and federalgovernment roles and responsibilities delayed decisions and actions toaddress the problem. Delay of political action allowed time for the  fi shto establish a breeding population.Asifsensingsuchwidespreadgovernancefailure,andrespondingtothe rapid deterioration of the Great Lakes basin before their eyes, therewas an emergence of local engagement. Communities experienced a ‘ quiet revolution, ’  a further shift towards building community capacity,and recognition of the dependence of both ecosystems and society onthe Great Lakes region, as well as the rivers that  fl ow into them. Thesechanges were driven by pull factors, such as indigenous-communitypartnerships that had emerged during the previous decade, as well aspush factors, such as the loss of social and municipal services. Citizensbegan to re-examine their assumptions about the roles of state andcitizens, paying closer attention to their own obligations. In manyinstances, municipal infrastructure had deteriorated, while fundingcuts to services affected most citizens. Community volunteer groupsperformed stewardship, adopting parks and natural areas that hadbeen suffering from decades of systematic under-funding. This move-ment, having started in isolated pockets earlier in the 2000s, gatheredmomentum as municipal resources evaporated. Where  fl oods had oc-curred, neighbors donated time and labor, repairing homes in theircommunitieshousebyhouse.Volunteersbegancontributingtoexperi-ential education programs, and networks increasingly connected peo-ple with their waterways and neighborhoods, fostering the creationand sharing of local knowledge. Many of the services that citizens hadrelied on governments to provide became crowdsourced, fosteringstrong community identities as a result (Zook et al., 2010). Citizens of theGreatLakesregionrecognizedthattheirformerconnectionstocom-munities, embedded in public spaces and natural areas such as parksand the lakes, were being lost.  A movement materializes: love for the Lakes (2033 –  2043) “ It took us a while to clue in. When we couldn't make an outdoorskating rink anymore, it seemed to hit home. Suddenly, everybodyand their neighbor got the picture. That's when the iceless hockeyrink meetings started spreading like wild fi re, and before you knewitwehadamovementonourhands. ” — MargueriteBloom,commu-nity organizer, Cleveland 2040In the 2030s, changes to theGreatLakes themselves  –  most notablythe reduction of ice cover, increasingly erratic changes in lake waterlevels, and more frequentstorms  –  becamemore visible to thecitizens,municipal governments, and policy makers in the Great Lakes region.However, existing policies were inadequate to deal with the web of interconnected problems.Disaster relief and responses to climate catastrophes boosted globalandlocaleconomies.Contractors,consultingengineers,anddisasteraidorganizations received increased  fi nancing as a result of frequent fl ooding that constantly needed government intervention, but in truthno one was better off (Strömberg, 2007). Infrastructure was repaired,but costs were too high, and insurance companies began to limit theircoverage. Losses became great. Homeowners, especially those whohad built on  fl oodplains and in locations once thought to be safedistances from the fl ooding, were left vulnerable and reliant on limiteddisaster relief provided by governments. Policy-makers continued topandertospeci fi c economicinterests ratherthanmeettheneeds ofcit-izens, using scarce resources for infrastructure projects that favored in-dustry and business needs.Astheclimatewarmed,theeffectsofclimatechangebecamevisibleinmanyplaceswithintheGreatLakesregion.Forexample,MadelineIs-land,Wisconsincouldnolongerdependontheiceroadwhichhadbeen Fig. 2.  Time line of the events occurring from 2013 until 2063 within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin under the  “ trying hard to adapt ”  scenario.5 C.J. Orr  †   et al. / Journal of Great Lakes Research xxx (2014) xxx –  xxx Please citethis article as: Orr † , C.J.,etal., Tryinghard toadapt toa chaoticworld:How complex challenges overwhelmed bestintentions, J GreatLakes Res (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2014.12.003
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