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

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


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.


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


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© 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

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