Considering socio-political framings when analyzing coastal climate change effects can prevent maldevelopment on small islands
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To avoid making a bad situation worse, it is vital to tap into local knowledge when devising strategies to counteract climate change on small islands.
Small islands are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change, but, surprisingly, some government initiatives to counter these effects can do more harm than good. It’s thus crucial to factor in political and social factors when considering strategies for dealing with climate change on small islands.
Now, a team led by researchers from the University of Hamburg, Germany, has used an interdisciplinary approach to study coastal erosion on the reef island Fuvahmulah in the Maldives.
The team found that the central government’s proclivity for hard-engineered countermeasures such as constructing harbours, can adversely affect natural coastal dynamics, thereby exacerbating the situation.
The study highlights the importance of drawing on local knowledge when coming up with countermeasures for climate change.
- Nature Communications 12, 5882 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-26082-5