The Caribbean after Irma and Maria: Climate, History, Responsibility

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Latin America Specialty Group, Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights Specialty Group, Development Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Studio 6, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Jeff Popke, Kevon Rhiney
Chairs: Jeff Popke


As discourses around climate change the Anthropocene proliferate, recent events in the Caribbean serve to remind us of exactly what is at stake. The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria (following many others in recent decades) provide stark illustration of the vulnerability of Caribbean islands to extreme weather events. While this vulnerability is partly a function of the region’s location, geography, and sensitive ecosystems, there is a growing sentiment among regional leaders and Caribbean scholars that the region’s vulnerability must also be viewed in light of centuries of colonial exploitation. This in turn poses pressing questions about the theoretical and practical dimensions of global debt and responsibility toward the Caribbean region.

Some commentators, for example, have called for more ambitious efforts on the part of the global community to assist the Caribbean in implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Others have called more forcefully for reparations in recognition of development and climate debts owed to the region from its colonial past and present. At the same time, the passage of Irma and Maria open up a range of possible responses on the part of Caribbean states, as the post-hurricane context presents an opportunity for the region to re-invent itself, to ‘build back better’. What exactly would such a re-invention or reconfiguration entail? And to what extent will the region’s reconstruction address longstanding barriers to transformational change, as the international community strives to transition towards a carbon neutral world?

This panel will address these and related questions arising from the post-hurricane context within the Caribbean.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Kevin Grove Florida International University 10
Panelist Thomas Weidemeyer Florida International University 10
Panelist April Baptiste Colgate University 10
Panelist Eleonora Rohland Bielefeld University 10
Panelist Kevon Rhiney Rutgers University 10
Panelist Marion Werner University at Buffalo, SUNY 10

To access contact information login