New research finds that a two-pronged approach is necessary to fight things like sea-level rise and ocean acidification.

There has been a lot of talk about whether individual acts in fighting for the environment can really make a difference; and similar things can be said about cities. Are local conservation endeavors effective, or should the focus be on working toward global efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions?

Scientists are split on the matter, some arguing for a continuation of local environmental efforts, while others believe we need all hands on deck and should be shifting the focus on global efforts.

As it turns out, we need to be doing both things, according to researchers from Duke University and Fudan University, who wanted a better understanding of the interactions between climate change and local human impacts in coastal zones, which are the most densely populated regions in the world.

"The answer is, you need both," said Brian R. Silliman, from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "Our analysis of local conservation efforts shows that in all but extreme situations, these interventions significantly buffer the impacts of climate change and can buy our sinking cities and bleaching corals time to adapt until the beneficial impacts of global emissions reductions kick in."

The paper provides examples of how local efforts have been crucial in staving off harm, and the authors provide proof that smaller victories are crucial. Or as the authors put it, " enhanced understanding of interactions between climate change and local human impacts is of profound importance to improving predictions of climate change impacts, devising climate-smart conservation actions, and helping enhance adaption of coastal societies to climate change in the Anthropocene."

Read the full article about fighting sea-level rise and ocean acidification by Melissa Breyer at TreeHugger.