Contours of Caribbean Vulnerabilities and Response Pathways to Climate-Related Hazards

Type: Virtual Panel
Theme: Geographies of Access: Inclusion and Pathways
Sponsor Groups: Caribbean Specialty Group
Organizers: April Baptiste

Call for Submissions

The Board of the Caribbean Geography Specialty Group is assembling one or more panels to present a survey of the Caribbean’s vulnerabilities and responses to extreme weather events and climate change. By drawing on various expertise across geography and other allied fields, the panel will characterize the latest physical and social science scholarship in order to better understand:
● the science on climate change and climate change’s threat to the Caribbean region,
● the societal and political responses to extreme weather impacts,
● the role of progressive social movement coalitions working across the region,
● pathways to reduce vulnerabilities and transform to more resilient and just societies

Please contact Kevon Rhiney ( and April Baptiste ( if you would like to participate in the panel.


The Caribbean is one of the world's most vulnerable regions to extreme weather events. Regional characteristics including the general small size of Caribbean states and territories, location in the Atlantic hurricane belt, heavy concentration of human settlement and other infrastructure in low-lying coastlines and the heavy reliance on a few climate sensitive industries such as agriculture and tourism, combines the Caribbean’s high exposure to climate-related hazards with challenges in preparing for and responding to disasters (Boruff & Cutter, 2007; Fry, 2005; MacPherson & Akpinar-Elci, 2013; Mertz et al., 2009; Pulwarty et al., 2010). Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact on the Bahamas in September 2019 is only one of many recent disasters in the Caribbean. Moreover, the projections for further loss and damage from climate change, despite the region’s negligible contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, raises questions of justice and global responsibility (Cambers, 2009; Campbell et al., 2011; Gamble et al., 2010; Linnekamp et al., 2011; Moore, 2010; Scott et al., 2012). This panel will explore the complexities that face the Caribbean region as they respond to wide ranging climate related hazards.

Boruff, B.J., Cutter, S.L., 2007. The environmental vulnerability of Caribbean island nations. Geogr. Rev. 97 (1), 24–45.
Campbell, D., Barker, D., McGregor, D., 2011. Dealing with drought: small farmers and environmental hazards in southern St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. Appl. Geogr. 31 (1), 146–158.
Cambers, G., 2009. Caribbean beach changes and climate change adaptation. Aquat. Ecosyst. Health Manage. 12 (2), 168–176.
Fry, I., 2005. Small island developing states: becalmed in sea of soft law. Reciel 14 (2), 89–99.
Gamble, D.W., Campbell, D., Allen, T.L., Barker, D., Curtis, S., McGregor, D., Popke, J., 2010. Climate change, drought, and Jamaican agriculture: local knowledge and the climate record. Ann. Assoc. Am. Geogr. 100, 880–893.
Linnekamp, F., Koedam, A., Baud, I., 2011. Household vulnerability to climate change: examining perceptions of household flood risks in Georgetown and Paramaribo. Habitat Int. 35 (3), 447–456.
MacPherson, C., Akpinar-Elci, M., 2013. Impacts of climate change on Caribbean life. Am. J. Public Health 103 (1), e6.
Mertz, O., Halsnaes, K., Olesen, J.E., Rasmussen, K., 2009. Adaptation to climate change in developing countries. Environ. Manage. 43, 743–752.
Moore, W.R., 2010. The impact of climate change on Caribbean tourism demand. Curr. Issues Tourism 13 (5), 495–505.
Pulwarty, R.S., Nurse, L.A., Trotz, U.O., 2010. Caribbean islands in a changing climate. Environment 52 (6), 16–27.
Scott, D., 2012. The vulnerability of Caribbean coastal tourism to scenarios of climate change related sea level rise. J. Sustain. Tourism 20 (6), 883–898.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Chris Knudson University of Hawai'i At Hilo 10
Panelist Stacy-ann Robinson Colby College 10
Panelist Charlie Overton 10
Panelist Flavia Dias De Souza Moraes University of Georgia 10
Panelist Esther Lambert University of Toronto 10
Panelist Emily Theokritoff Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin 10
Discussant April Baptiste Colgate University 10

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