“Putting the Pieces Back Together” Resilience against Climate Change among Business Operators in Coastal Jamaica

Authors: Shenika McFarlane-Morris*, Church Teachers' College, Nicole Dean-Perkins, Shortwood Teachers' College
Topics: Economic Geography, Coastal and Marine, Development
Keywords: Climate Change,Livelihood,Jamaica,Sea Level Rise,Vulnerability,Resilience
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The impacts of climate change can already be felt in many parts of the world, but especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The island of Jamaica has seen an acceleration of the symptoms of climate change, especially along its south coast. With the consideration that over 82% of the country's population reside in coastal areas (Ministry of Land and Environment in Jamaica, 2013), this paper calls for greater support of the resilience of such communities and the businesses operating in them. This study was centered on a comparative analysis of the vulnerability of the communities of Alligator Pond, Manchester and Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth to sea level rise, coastal erosion and increased frequency of storms. Since these are two of the largest fishing villages in the island, I was particularly interested in the business operators'- including owners of seafood restaurants and hotels- resilience against climate change. Through a qualitative methodological approach, it was found that the longevity of fishing and the other economic activities connected to the sea, are at alarming levels of exposure to the environmental changes, forcing business operators to be increasingly resilient. The process of climate change-induced migration to spaces further inland has already started and in other cases, homes and business places have suffered serious damage from hydraulic forces. Without urgent and sustainable intervention, many livelihoods will eventually be lost, which can potentially culminate in new social and economic maladies within these communities.

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