Geographies of vulnerability: a research note on human system adaptations to climate change in the Caribbean

Caribbean small island communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. While climate policy is often formulated at the national level, climate impacts are first felt in local communities. This research note, which is part of a larger research project on climate change adaptation in Caribbean coastal communities, reviews the recent literature on human system adaptations to climate change at the local level in the Caribbean. It seeks to answer two questions: (1) How are human systems at the local level adapting to climate change in the Caribbean? (2) What challenges exist for local-level climate adaptations in human systems that seek to protect vulnerable communities in the Caribbean? The studies reviewed highlight the importance of considering the vulnerability of sub-populations, protecting their livelihoods, and pursuing institutional cooperation at the local and national levels. In interrogating whether the recommendations for community adaptations in the literature are transferrable to other geographies, this note further emphasizes that understanding the challenges that communities face in protecting human systems against climate change can help policy-makers develop more effective adaptation strategies that centre climate justice.

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