Sustainable Resilience in Barbuda: Learning from the Past and Developing Strategies for the Future

By Rebecca Boger, Sophia Perdikaris, Amy Potter and Jennifer Adams.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 6, 2016 $US5.00

An interdisciplinary team of natural and social scientists is working closely with local experts to document, understand, and find solutions to the pressing social and environmental challenges facing the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) of Barbuda, Lesser Antilles. Until the mid-1900s, Barbudans were mostly self-sufficient and provided for the majority of their food and water needs despite the natural cycles of wet and dry periods and thin, nutrient-poor soils. Now, more than 80 percent of their food and water are brought in, making them vulnerable to socioeconomic and climatic stressors. Our research approach takes a long-term perspective that includes documenting the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and community perception, as well as collecting environmental, archaeological, and paleoclimate data. Our research indicates that during the historical period Barbudans developed a socio-ecological strategy that enabled them to be successfully resilient to ecological disturbances and live sustainably within the context of their island. We call this socio-ecological strategy “sustainable resilience.” This strategy is not functioning now and islanders are increasingly vulnerable. Working collaboratively with local experts, we are applying lessons from the past to assist in collaboratively developing sustainable resilience in the present.

Keywords: Caribbean, Transdisciplinary, Climate Change, Climate Variability, Sustainability, Resilience

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 6, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 794.183KB)).

Dr. Rebecca Boger

Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Dr. Sophia Perdikaris

Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Director, Human Ecodynamics Research Center, GSUC CUNY, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, USA

Dr. Amy Potter

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Armstrong State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA

Dr. Jennifer Adams

Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, USA