Traditional knowledge for climate resilience in the Pacific Islands

Article


Nunn, P.D., Kumar, R., Barrowman, H.M., Chambers, L.E., Fifita, L., Geogeo, D., Gomese, C., McGree, S., Rarai, A., Cheer, K., Esau, D., Fa'anunu, O., Fong, T., Lomavatu, M., Geraghty, P., Heorake, T., Kekeubata, E., Korovulavula, I., Kubunavanua, E., ..., Waiwai, M.. 2024. "Traditional knowledge for climate resilience in the Pacific Islands." WIREs Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.882
Article Title

Traditional knowledge for climate resilience in the Pacific Islands

ERA Journal ID122843
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsNunn, P.D., Kumar, R., Barrowman, H.M., Chambers, L.E., Fifita, L., Geogeo, D., Gomese, C., McGree, S., Rarai, A., Cheer, K., Esau, D., Fa'anunu, O., Fong, T., Lomavatu, M., Geraghty, P., Heorake, T., Kekeubata, E., Korovulavula, I., Kubunavanua, E., Lui, S., Maclaren, D., Maisale, P., Nemani, S., Plotz, R., Puairana, G., Rantes, J., Singh-Peterson, Lila and Waiwai, M.
Journal TitleWIREs Climate Change
Article Numbere882
Year2024
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1757-7780
1757-7799
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.882
Web Address (URL)https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.882
Abstract

Pacific Islands, many relatively remote and small, have been occupied by people for more than 3000 years during which time they experienced climate-driven environmental changes (both slow and rapid onset) that challenged human survival and led to the evolution of place-based coping strategies expressed through traditional knowledge (TK). In today's globalized Pacific Islands region, into which western worldviews and global adaptation strategies have made significant inroads, most plans for coping with climate-changed futures are founded in science-based understandings of the world that undervalue and sideline TK. Many such plans have proved difficult to implement as a consequence. This paper reviews the nature of extant Pacific TK for coping with climate change, something that includes TK for anticipating climate change (including climate variability and climate extremes) as well as ancillary TK associated with food and water security, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental conservation, and settlement and house construction that represent coping strategies. Much of this TK can be demonstrated as being effective with precedents in other (traditional) contexts and a compelling plausible scientific basis. This study demonstrates that Pacific Islands TK for coping with climate change has value and, especially because of its place-based nature, should be central to future climate-change adaptation strategies to enhance their uptake, effectiveness and sustainability. To this end, this paper proposes specific ways forward to optimize the utility of TK and ensure it has a realistic role in sustaining Pacific Island communities into the future.

Keywordsclimate change; traditional knowledge; resilience; Pacific Islands; coping
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440104. Environmental anthropology
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