Advertisement

Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Islands: A Review of Faith-Engaged Approaches and Opportunities

  • Johannes M. LuetzEmail author
  • Patrick D. Nunn
Chapter
  • 38 Downloads
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

The Pacific Islands region is highlighted in the literature as one of the most vulnerable geographic areas in the world, with a high priority for adaptation to climate change. In consequence, many interventions have been proposed and implemented over the years that approach environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change in the Pacific from a predominantly scientific and technocratic worldview perspective, in which climate change is seen as a science-informed issue, rather than a faith-informed issue. Overwhelmingly, adaptation initiatives are scientifically justified and externally conceived, funded and implemented. Regrettably, most interventions intended to reduce exposure to environmental risk and to enable effective and sustainable adaptation to climate change in the Pacific Islands region have failed to acknowledge influences on decision-making of spirituality and connectedness to Nature. In the light of the almost total Christianization of Pacific Islands within the past century, such intervention failures are surprising. The situation cannot continue because every day the need for adaptation to climate change that is effective and sustainable is growing. Given that in the Pacific Islands region decision makers are likely to be influenced more by tradition and local precedent than by science, makes the purposive exploration of faith-engaged approaches to climate change adaptation a fertile and promising undertaking. This paper extends previous research by means of a literary review of pertinent challenges and opportunities. The synthesised lessons are useful for both policy and practice serving the cause of climate change adaptation in Pacific island communities. A better understanding of the science-spirituality nexus in the Pacific will also improve the effectiveness and sustainability of adaptation responses to climate-driven environmental change.

Keywords

Pacific islands Christianisation Science-spirituality nexus Climate change Adaptation Consilience Literary review 

References

  1. Aalbersberg WGL, Lovelace CEA, Madhoji K, Parkinson SV (1988) Davuke, the traditional Fijian method of pit preservation of staple carbohydrate foods. Ecol Food Nutr 21(3):173–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arbuckle MB, Konisky DM (2015) The role of religion in environmental attitudes. Soc Sci Q 96(5):1244–1263.  https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Austin L (2014) Faith-based community radio and development in the South Pacific Islands. Media Int Aust 150:114–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett J, Campbell J (2010) Climate change and small island states. Earthscan, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  5. Belmar YN, McNamara KE, Morrison TH (2016) Water security in small island developing states: the limited utility of evolving governance paradigms. Wiley Interdisc Rev Water 3(2):181–193.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bergmann S, Gerten D (2010) (eds) Religion and dangerous environmental change: transdisciplinary perspectives on the ethics of climate change. Studies in religion and the environment, vol 2. LIT, MünsterGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyes E, Stanisstreet M (2012) Environmental education for behaviour change: which actions should be targeted? Int J Sci Educ 34(10):1591–1614.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2011.584079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryman A (2016) Social research methods, 5th edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Buxton G, Luetz JM, Shaw S (2020) Towards an embodied pedagogy in educating for creation care. In: Luetz JM , Green B (eds) Innovating Christian education research: multidisciplinary perspectives (Chap. 21). Springer Nature, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell IC (2011) Worlds apart: a history of the Pacific Islands, 2nd edn. Canterbury University Press, ChristchurchGoogle Scholar
  11. Carson MT, Hung H-C, Summerhayes G, Bellwood P (2013) The pottery trail from Southeast Asia to Remote Oceania. J Island Coast Archaeol 8(1):17–36.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15564894.2012.726941CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charlton J (2000) Nothing about us without us. Disability oppression and empowerment. University of California Press, CAGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen J-M, Luetz JM (2020) Mono-/inter-/multi-/trans-/anti-disciplinarity in research. In: Leal Filho W, Marisa Azul A, Brandli L, Gökcin Özuyar P, Wall T (eds) Quality education, encyclopedia of the UN sustainable development goals. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp 1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_33-1
  14. Clarke DM, Wilson C (2011) The Oxford handbook of philosophy in early modern Europe. Oxford University Press, pp. 1–616.  https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199556137.001.0001
  15. Fair H (2018) Three stories of Noah: navigating religious climate change narratives in the Pacific Island region. Geo Geogr Environ 5(2).  https://doi.org/10.1002/geo2.68
  16. Fazey I, Pettorelli N, Kenter J, Wagatora D, Schuett D (2011) Maladaptive trajectories of change in Makira, Solomon Islands. Glob Environ Change 21(4):1275–1289.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.07.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fegan B (2013) The attacking ocean: the past, present and future of rising sea levels. Bloomsbury, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  18. Fitzpatrick SM (ed) (2018) Ancient psychoactive substances. University Press of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  19. Gerten D, Bergmann S (eds) (2012) Religion in environmental and climate change: suffering, values, lifestyles. London, UK, BloomsburyGoogle Scholar
  20. Goffman E (1974) Frame analysis: an essay on the organization of experience. Harper & Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Granderson AA (2017) The role of traditional knowledge in building adaptive capacity for climate change: perspectives from Vanuatu. Weather Clim Soc 9(3):545–561.  https://doi.org/10.1175/wcas-d-16-0094.1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hagevi M (2014) Religion and the environmental opinion in 22 countries: a comparative study. Int Rev Sociol 24(1):1–19.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03906701.2014.894333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hall ET (1976) Beyond culture, 1st edn. Anchor Press, Garden City, NYGoogle Scholar
  24. Havea PH, Hemstock SL, Des Combes HJ, Luetz JM (2018) “God and Tonga Are My Inheritance!”—Climate Change Impact on Perceived Spirituality, Adaptation and Lessons Learnt from Kanokupolu, ’Ahau, Tukutonga, Popua and Manuka in Tongatapu, Tonga. In: Leal Filho W (ed) Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for coastal communities. Springer Nature, Cham, pp 167–186.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70703-7_9
  25. Hinkel J, Aerts JCJH, Brown S, Jiménez JA, Lincke D, Nicholls RJ, Addo KA (2018) The ability of societies to adapt to twenty-first-century sea-level rise. Nat Clim Change 8:570–578.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0176-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hulme M (2017a) Climate change. In: Jenkins WJ, Tucker ME, Grim J (eds) Routledge handbook of religion and ecology. Earthscan/Routledge, London, pp 239–248Google Scholar
  27. Hulme M (2017b) Climate change and the significance of religion. Econ Polit Weekly 52:14–17Google Scholar
  28. Hung H-C, Carson MT, Bellwood P, Campos FZ, Piper PJ, Dixon E, Chi Z (2011) The first settlement of remote Oceania: the Philippines to the Marianas. Antiquity 85:909–926CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jenkins W, Berry E, Kreider LB (2018) Religion and climate change. In: Gadgil A, Tomich TP (eds) Annual review of environment and resources, vol 43, pp 85–108Google Scholar
  30. Johannes RE (2002) The renaissance of community-based marine resource management in Oceania. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 33:317–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kahneman D (2003) Maps of bounded rationality: psychology for behavioral economics. Am Econ Rev 93(5):1449–1475.  https://doi.org/10.1257/000282803322655392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kearns L (2012) Religious climate activism in the United States. In: Gerten D, Bergmann S (eds) Religion in environmental and climate change: suffering, values, lifestyles. Bloomsbury, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Kelly MP, Barker M (2016) Why is changing health-related behaviour so difficult? Pub Health 136:109–116.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2016.03.030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kempf W (2012) Climate change, migration, and Christianity in Oceania. In: Hastrup K, Olwig KF (eds) Climate change and human mobility: challenges to the social sciences. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Kempf W (2017) Climate change, Christian religion and songs: revisiting the Noah Story in the Central Pacific. In: Dürr E, Pascht A (eds) Environmental transformations and cultural responses. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.  https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53349-4_2
  36. Klöck C, Nunn PD (2019) Adaptation to climate change in Small Island Developing States: a systematic literature review of academic research. J Environ Dev 28(2):196–218.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1070496519835895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Labouisse JP (2016) Ethnobotany of Breadfruit in Vanuatu: review and prospects. Ethnobiol Lett 7(1):14–23.  https://doi.org/10.14237/ebl.7.1.2016.582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Laughlin CD (2018) Mana: psychic energy, spiritual power, and the experiencing brain. Time Mind J Archaeol Conscious Cult 11(4):409–431.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1751696x.2018.1541128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lipo CP, Hunt TL, Haoa SR (2013) The ‘walking’ megalithic statues (moai) of Easter Island. J Archaeol Sci 40(6):2859–2866.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Luetz JM (2019a) Over-researching migration ‘hotspots’? Ethical issues from the Carteret Islands. Forced Migr Rev (61):20–22. The ethics issue (June 2019), Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. https://www.fmreview.org/ethics/luetz
  41. Luetz JM (2019b) Climate refugees: why measuring the immeasurable makes sense beyond measure. In: Leal Filho W, Marisa Azul A, Brandli L, Gökcin Özuyar P, Wall T (eds) Climate action. Encyclopedia of the UN sustainable development goals. Earth and Environmental Science, pp 1–14. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71063-1_81-1
  42. Luetz JM, Havea PH (2018) “We’re not Refugees, We’ll Stay Here Until We Die!”—climate change adaptation and migration experiences gathered from the Tulun and Nissan Atolls of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In: Leal Filho W (ed) Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for coastal communities. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp 3–29.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70703-7_1
  43. Luetz JM, Merson J (2019) Climate change and human migration as adaptation: conceptual and practical challenges and opportunities. In: Leal Filho W, Marisa Azul A, Brandli L, Gökcin Özuyar, Wall T (eds) Climate action. Encyclopedia of the UN sustainable development goals (vol SDG 3—Climate action. Earth and Environmental Science, pp 1–13). Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71063-1_46-1
  44. Luetz JM, Buxton G, Bangert K (2018) Christian theological, hermeneutical and eschatological perspectives on environmental sustainability and creation care—the role of holistic education. In: Luetz JM, Dowden T, Norsworthy B (eds) Reimagining Christian education—cultivating transformative approaches. Springer Nature, Singapore, pp 51–73.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0851-2_4
  45. Luetz JM, Bergsma C, Hills K (2019) The poor just might be the educators we need for global sustainability—a manifesto for consulting the unconsulted. In: Leal Filho W, Consorte McCrea A (eds) Sustainability and the humanities. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp 115–140.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95336-6_7
  46. Luetz JM, Margus P, Prickett B (2020) Human behaviour change for sustainable development: perspectives informed by psychology and neuroscience. In: Leal Filho W, Marisa Azul A, Brandli L, Gökcin Özuyar P, Wall T (eds) Quality education, encyclopedia of the UN sustainable development goals, pp 1–15. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_12-1
  47. McMillen HL, Ticktin T, Springer HK (2017) The future is behind us: traditional ecological knowledge and resilience over time on Hawai’i Island. Reg Environ Change 17(2):579–592.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-016-1032-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McMillen HL, Ticktin T, Friedlander A, Jupiter SD, Thaman R, Campbell J, Veitayaki J, Giambelluca T, Nihmei S, Rupeni E, Orcherton DF (2014). Small islands, valuable insights: systems of customary resource use and resilience to climate change in the Pacific. Ecol Soc 19(4), #44.  https://doi.org/10.5751/es-06937-190444
  49. Mackay S, Brown R, Gonelevu M, Pelesikoti N, Kocovanua T, Iaken R, Iautu F, Tuiafitu-Malolo L, Fulivai S, Lepa MA, Mackey B (2018) Overcoming barriers to climate change information management in Small Island Developing States: lessons from Pacific SIDS. Clim Policy 1–14. 10.1080/14693062.2018.1455573Google Scholar
  50. McNamara KE, Prasad SS (2014) Coping with extreme weather: communities in Fiji and Vanuatu share their experiences and knowledge. Clim Change 123(2):121–132.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-1047-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McNeill JR (1994) Of rats and men: a synoptic environmental history of the island Pacific. J World Hist 5(2):299–349Google Scholar
  52. Morrison M, Duncan R, Parton K, Sherley C (2013) The relationship between religious persuasion and climate change attitudes in Australia. IDEAS Working Paper Series from RePEc. 2013 Conference (57th), February 5–8, 2013, Sydney, Australia, 152147, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. http://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/aare13/152147.html
  53. Mortreux C, Barnett J (2009) Climate change, migration and adaptation in Funafuti, Tuvalu. Glob Environ Change 19(1):105–112.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.09.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nelson W, Luetz JM (2019) What can we learn from Pope Francis about change management for environmental sustainability? A case study on success factors for leading change in change-resistant institutional environments. In: Leal Filho W, Consorte McCrea A (eds) Sustainability and the humanities. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp 503–524.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95336-6_29
  55. Nerem RS, Beckley BD, Fasullo JT, Hamlington BD, Masters D, Mitchum GT (2018) Climate-change-driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115(9):2022–2025.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717312115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nisbet MC (2009) Communicating climate change: why frames matter for public engagement. Environ Sci Policy Sustain Dev 51(2):12–23.  https://doi.org/10.3200/ENVT.51.2.12-23
  57. Nunn PD (2007) Climate, environment and society in the pacific during the last millennium. Elsevier, AmsterdamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nunn PD (2009) Responding to the challenges of climate change in the Pacific Islands: management and technological imperatives. Clim Res 40:211–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nunn PD (2013) The end of the Pacific? Effects of sea level rise on Pacific Island Livelihoods. Singap J Trop Geogr 34(2):143–171.  https://doi.org/10.1111/sjtg.12021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nunn P (2017) Sidelining God: why secular climate projects in the Pacific Islands are failing. The Conversation, 17 May. https://theconversation.com/sidelining-god-why-secular-climate-projects-in-the-pacific-islands-are-failing-77623
  61. Nunn PD, Mulgrew K, Scott-Parker B, Hine DW, Marks ADG, Mahar D, Maebuta J (2016) Spirituality and attitudes towards nature in the Pacific Islands: insights for enabling climate-change adaptation. Clim Change 136(3–4):477–493.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1646-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nunn PD, Kumar R (2018) Understanding climate-human interactions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS): implications for future livelihood sustainability. Int J Clim Change Strat Manag 10(2):245–271.  https://doi.org/10.1108/ijccsm-01-2017-0012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nunn PD, McNamara KE (2019) Failing adaptation in island contexts: the growing need for transformational change. In: Klock C, Fink M (eds) Dealing with climate change on Small Islands: towards effective and sustainable adaptation. Gottingen University Press, GottingenGoogle Scholar
  64. Oakes R (2019) Culture, climate change and mobility decisions in Pacific Small Island developing states. Popul Environ 40(4):480–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Paton K, Fairbairn-Dunlop P (2010) Listening to local voices: Tuvaluans respond to climate change. Local Environ 15:687–698.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2010.498809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Piggott-McKellar A, McNamara K, Nunn PD, Watson J (2019) What are the barriers to successful community-based climate change adaptation? A review of grey literature. Local Environ 24(4):374–390.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2019.1580688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pigliasco GC (2010) We branded ourselves long ago: intangible cultural property and commodification of Fijian Firewalking. Oceania 80(2):161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Prasad V (2016) Adopting agroforestry for improved soil health in the Pacific. Xxix International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (Ihc2014): International symposium on impact of Asia-Pacific horticulture—resources. Technol Soc Welf 1129:35–39.  https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1129.5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Punch KF (2014) Introduction to social research: quantitative and qualitative approaches, 3rd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  70. Roberts M (2012) Evangelicals and climate change. In: Gerten D, Bergmann S (eds) Religion in environmental and climate change: suffering, values, lifestyles. Bloomsbury, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  71. Rudiak-Gould P (2014) The influence of science communication on indigenous climate change perception: theoretical and practical implications. Hum Ecol 42(1):75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sapolsky R (2017) Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst. Penguin Random House, LondonGoogle Scholar
  73. Schaefer J (2017) New hope for the oceans: engaging faith-based communities in marine conservation. Front Mar Sci 4Google Scholar
  74. Schifko G (2011) Marae, Moko and Haka. Traditional rituals of the Maori from New Zealand and their meanings in the 21st Century. Anthropos 106(2):707–708Google Scholar
  75. Schuman S et al (2018) Religious beliefs and climate change adaptation: a study of three rural South African communities. Jamba-J Disaster Risk Stud 10Google Scholar
  76. Shah S, Moroca A, Bhat JA (2018) Neo-traditional approaches for ensuring food security in Fiji Islands. Environ Dev 28:83–100.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envdev.2018.11.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Slingerland E, Collard M (eds) (2012) Creating consilience: integrating the sciences and the humanities. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  78. Thaman RR (2008) Pacific Island agrobiodiversity and ethnobiodiversity: a foundation for sustainable Pacific Island life. Biodiversity 9(1–2):102–110.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14888386.2008.9712895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Thornton A et al (2012) Givers and governance: the potential of faith-based development in the Asia Pacific. Dev Pract 22(5–6):779–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Veldman RG (2013) Religion in environmental and climate change: suffering, values, lifestyles. J Contemp Relig.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2013.750865
  81. Walter R, Thomas T, Sheppard P (2004) Cult assemblages and ritual practice in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. World Archaeol 36(1):142–157.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0043824042000192614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. White L (1967) The historical roots of our ecological crisis. Science 155(3767):1203–1207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. World Meteorological Organization (2019) WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018. WMO, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesAdjunct Academic, University of New South Wales (UNSW)SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social SciencesChristian Heritage CollegeCarindale/BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Social SciencesUniversity of the Sunshine Coast (USC)MaroochydoreAustralia

Personalised recommendations