Islands in the Caribbean are particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels, hurricanes and even volcanic eruptions.
With the help of a $1 million federal grant, Northeastern University is partnering with three communities in Barbados and Dominica over the next two years to develop plans to respond to climate change and extreme weather events.
The partnerships will enlist the help of community residents—including leaders and the underserved—as well as higher education officials in the Caribbean to design projects based on local needs, says Northeastern professor and grant recipient Stephen E. Flynn, founding director of the university’s Global Resilience Institute.
The grant awarded by the United States Agency for International Development goes into effect July 1. The goal is to address locations where the impact of climate change is most urgent and to eventually scale the lessons learned across other small island states in the Caribbean and Pacific regions. Lessons learned can also be applied to mainland societies in North America and Europe, Flynn says.
“The Caribbean Islands are essentially a microcosm of the challenges we’re all facing” in terms of climate change, Flynn says. “They also face the most extreme vulnerability. If you’re on a small island like Dominica and a volcano goes off or a major hurricane strikes, you’re stuck.”