The shock of climate change could upset the status quo, presenting an opportunity to challenge existing social contracts and unequal relationships.

This article titled “Opportunities offered by climate change” was written by Rachel Godfrey Wood, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 26th April 2011 06.00 UTC

It’s not always a great idea to acknowledge that bad things can create opportunities – but they can. Bad things cause suffering and tragedy, but they can also destabilise the status quo, open space for new discussions, and give an impetus to groups looking for positive change.

This is particularly relevant for climate change, which is likely to challenge governments and social systems in a way that has never happened before. This point has been made by Mark Pelling, who in his new book, Adaptation to Climate Change: From Resilience to Transformation, argues that adapting to climate change should be seen as an opportunity to challenge existing social contracts and unequal relationships.

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