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In the context of positive and negative feedbacks in the earth system and climate change:
I feel that mitigation is something that has to be actively done by someone, but since I am neither a linguist nor a native speaker, I can't properly argue for or against it.

Is the usage of "mitigation" restricted to (human) actors? Or can mitigation be a passive effect of natural processes?

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Mitigation does not need a human actor. Consider the following sentence.

The unseasonal rains mitigated the problem of wildfires.

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  • 3
    I found another: "Beavers can help mitigate the effects of climate change"
    – GEdgar
    Oct 14, 2022 at 11:45
  • It is a good example sentence.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 14, 2022 at 12:33
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Example sentences in respected online dictionaries contain few if any examples of a force / natural cause rather than an agent (with volition) as the actor, in sentences containing the related verb. In fact, most example sentences contain a covert agent:

..............

  • Only international co-operation can mitigate environmental damage. [Macmillan]

However, sentences with a non-volitional actor (not even in the bakground) are not uncommon; here is an example from an article in The National Library of Medicine by Toll-Riera, Olombrada, Castro-Giner and Wagner:

  • It involved genomic changes that occurred in a highly parallel fashion and mitigated the effects of protein misfolding.

And another example from Pruffle.mit.ed:

  • Le Chatelier's principle says that a system will respond to mitigate the effect of an implied stimulus.

The use of the noun mitigation mirrors that of the verb.

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