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Front. Clim., 31 October 2022
Sec. Climate Risk Management
Volume 4 - 2022 |

Editorial: Gender and social consideration in climate and impacts research and services

  • 1Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL, United States
  • 2Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN, United States
  • 3Climate Hazards Center, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States

The integration of social science into technical scientific pursuits has long been a goal for applications driven and climate change resilience solutions. This is especially true in the geosciences where remote sensing, Earth observations and geospatial technologies have been shown to have tremendous benefits into decision making at many scales. However, there are many documented and unrealized challenges involved in this alignment that the community has yet to overcome in any systematic fashion. Case-studies, pilots projects, and short-term studies exist but scalable solutions don't seem to be widely pursued. Additionally, the integration of women, or other traditionally marginalized groups continues to be lacking. This is in spite of overwhelming evidence that applications without inclusive community participation are at best insufficient and at worst harmful, while inclusive applications science results in better outcomes at every level.

This collection seeks to address these research gaps in incorporating social science and underrepresented voices in climate services by providing reflections on frameworks and approaches to build inclusive geo-services. These frameworks provide the tools teams can use to provide a platform for diverse stakeholder identification and needs assessments, pinpoint gaps and challenges in information dissemination, select priority actions, and continuously develop services that benefit the entire community. The frameworks presented present the readers with opportunities to follow the author's journeys to development, showcasing lessons learned and case studies illustrating them in action.

Fernandez-Bou et al. provide a thought provoking glimpse into “3 challenges, 3 errors, and 3 solutions to integrate frontline communities in climate change policy and research.” This perspectives paper offers an honest insight into this multidisciplinary teams approach toward years of efforts promoting climate justice in an increasingly diverse, under represented, and climate shock prone area in California. Through their work, the authors describe these lived challenges and errors and showcase the solutions to try to build better systems. Following these author's journeys toward integrating the communities builds a common narrative and justification for interesting solutions. Not only in light of largely insufficient climate change policy and resilience strategies but due to real damage being done to this community by sub-par policy design, implementation, and enforcement.

Excellent follow-ons from Fernandez-Bou are Ovienmhada et al. and Huyer et al. which provide readers with reviews, critiques, and applications of several design methods with an eye toward inclusivity. Ovienmhada et al. describe several methods in detail including their strengths and weaknesses toward inclusive design. After the reviews, Ovienmhada et al. describes their choice to use a Systems Architecture Framework (SAF) for their use case with working with Green Keeper Africa (GKA) on invasive water hyacinth control in Benin. This process puts stakeholders, their needs and most importantly perhaps, their values, in order to design a system that is useful for their objectives. Building systems following this framework seems to illustrate not only inclusivity but also sustainable design. From a larger context, it is easy to see how this process can be used at larger scales, for water hyacinth control in other parts of the world, for invasive species management more generally, and even ecosystem management.

Huyer et al. meanwhile applies their framework for climate resilience agriculture (CFA) and also includes scalability as an important component toward inclusive service design.

While the previously described papers explain their needs based approach in depth, perhaps what may have been lacking from those approaches was intersectionality. Also known as an acknowledgment of an individual's many diversities and the combined effects that frame that individuals lived experiences. For example, gender is only one aspect of an individual's identity. Adding race, cast, income-status, education-level, etc. add not only complexity to that person's lived experience but when those statuses are from minority and or marginalized groups the negative bias is most often amplified. Intersectional approaches to climate solutions are explored more in depth through Cannon and Kadel et al.

Cannon uses an intersectional framework to review risk relationships among landfills, disasters, race, class and gender. This paper not only advances intersectionality studies but also improves best practices for building these considerations into research design and analysis. Kadel et al. also describes their intersectional approach implemented by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The approach described by Kadel et al. is applied to a case study in Nepal toward integrating gender into a Climate Resilience Forest Management System (CRFMS) and is also planned to be used to further integrate gender into additional ICIMOD services.

Finally Moore's policy brief takes a deep dive into the landscape of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Amazon region. His deep understanding of the intricacies involved with including these groups despite perceived challenges in interconnectedness provide context and solutions to including them into geospatial service provision for that region. This work not only advocates for the inclusion but shows appropriate pathways for doing so.

Advocating for diverse voices in climate change solutions is challenging. It is not well funded, and it requires true interdisciplinary science. It is also often limited also by a lack of data. The research that contributed to this collection was informed by data that was able to be disaggregated into different classes (sex, race, other marginalized status, etc.). Without such data questions around differential effects of minority or marginellid status cannot even be asked. As scientists from all fields collect data it is imperative to collect these categorizations to the best of our abilities in order to develop inclusive science. These papers illustrate concrete steps toward inclusive and intersectional climate service development across many sectors including in the agriculture, water, forestry, and disasters contexts. Further, it is the editors hope that these series of papers not only support the justification inclusive climate science but make it achievable to implement for any research team.

Author contributions

EA wrote the draft Editorial. KG and SS provided valuable comments to enhance the Editorial. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.


The editors would like to thank all authors and their contributors who's articles shaped this Research Topic. The authors would also like to think the SERVIR program, a joint NASA and USAID partnership with leading geospatial organizations around the world. EA has support from the NASA-UAH Cooperative Agreement 80MSFC22M0004. KG and SS acknowledge support from SERVIR AST grant #80NSSC20K0163 and USAID grant #72DFFP19CA00001.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Keywords: social and climate impacts, women, climate research, climate services, climate equity, inclusion

Citation: Adams EC, Grace K and Shukla S (2022) Editorial: Gender and social consideration in climate and impacts research and services. Front. Clim. 4:1038266. doi: 10.3389/fclim.2022.1038266

Received: 06 September 2022; Accepted: 15 September 2022;
Published: 31 October 2022.

Edited and reviewed by: Sirkku Juhola, University of Helsinki, Finland

Copyright © 2022 Adams, Grace and Shukla. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Emily C. Adams,