Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Islands: Opportunities for Faith-Engaged Approaches

Pacific Islands and Climate Change

The Pacific Islands face uncertain futures and are in need of adaptation solutions that are both effective and sustainable. A publication seeks faith based approaches to this adaptation.


As the region in the world perhaps most exposed to climate change, the Pacific Islands face uncertain futures and are in need of adaptation solutions that are both effective and sustainable. Yet because adaptation interventions have been mostly externally designed, funded and implemented, they have uncritically privileged a scientific and technocratic worldview that contrasts sharply with that of most Pacific Island people. Most interventions intended to reduce exposure to environmental risk and to enable effective and sustainable adaptation to climate change in the Pacific Islands region have failed to acknowledge influences on decisionmaking of spirituality and connectedness to Nature. In the light of the almost total Christianization of Pacific Islands within the past century, such intervention failures are surprising. The situation cannot continue because every day the need for adaptation to climate change that is effective and sustainable is growing. Given that in the Pacific Islands region decisionmakers are likely to be influenced more by tradition and local precedent than by science, this book makes the purposive exploration of opportunities for faith-engaged approaches to climate change adaptation a fertile and promising undertaking.

It is against this background that suitably qualified experts and project teams are invited to contribute to the edited volume “Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Islands: Opportunities for Faith-Engaged Approaches”. Experiences, perspectives and lessons gathered in the book will be invaluable for both policy and practice serving the cause of climate change adaptation in Pacific Island communities. A better understanding of the science-spirituality nexus in the Pacific will also enable more sustainable and locally meaningful adaptation responses.


In addition to featuring the findings of case studies, literary analyses, field projects and empirical research, the volume will contain a wide range of perspectives exemplifying the diversity of faith-engaged approaches across the Pacific Island region.
A unique feature of this interdisciplinary peer reviewed book is its strong practice-oriented focus that promotes “more-than-scientific yet not anti-scientific responses to climate change that are locally meaningful and morally compelling” (Hannah Fair, 2018).
Comprising peer reviewed works by scholars, professionals and practitioners from across Oceania, the book addresses a critical gap in the literature and represents a ground-breaking interdisciplinary contribution to climate change adaptation in the Pacific Island region intended to underwrite its people’s effective and sustained adaptation to climate change, thereby minimizing its impacts on their lives.


Topics include (but are not limited to) the following cross-cutting themes and examples:

Context: Past, present and future perspectives
Opening contextual discourses on environment, belief and empiricismE
nvironment and belief in the Pacific Islands (the history of ‘Pacific people’s linkage of environment and deity’ with examples, e.g., disasters and divine attribution, etc.)
Faith-based rationalisations of past climate change
Faith-based opportunities for future climate change adaptation

Theory: Concepts, narratives and theoretical frameworks

Exploratory discourses: the case for faith-engaged approaches in the Pacific
Ecotheology, ‘creation care’ and ecological hermeneutics
Epistemological and eschatological perspectives
Integrated discourses: bridging the science-spirituality divide — or is this “an illicit melange of elements best left separate”? (Wolfgang Kempf, 2017)
Creating consilience: conjoining contributions from the sciences and humanities
Enlisting religious convictions in the service of climate change adaptation as a “motivational force not mirrored by economics or science” (Hannah Fair, 2018)

Practice: Empirical research and praxis-informed case examples

Leveraging spiritual leadership for policy development and regulatory change
Quantitative and qualitative research, reviews and analyses
Climate change and worldview persuasion: Theories, practices and realities
Imagining barriers: how positionality affects insider-outsider adaptation discourse
Case studies and grassroots examples of innovative faith-engaged adaptation practice

Doctrine: Scriptural contributions and perspectives

Holy books: opportunities and challenges for effecting faith-engaged adaptation practice
Scripture and climate change adaptation praxis: Gold mine or mine field?
Scriptural reflections on longing and belonging, home and homelessness, human migration, displacement and resettlement
Scriptural narratives and representations: Noah as an icon of pre-disaster preparedness
Theological and hermeneutical perspectives on “end time prophecy” and Biblical eschatology

Engagement: Engaging stakeholders and constituencies

Professors, pastors or politicians … different epistemologies for different constituencies?
The role of the Pacific Conference of Churches
Mormonism in the Pacific Islands
Engaging religious stakeholders: Inter-denominationalism, ecumenicalism, church alliances, parachurch organisations, multi-faith coalitions
Indigenous perspectives on place, culture, language, worldview and identity


Limits to faith-engaged approaches

Other contributions would be welcome. Please consult the editors if you have additional ideas.

The book will be published as part of Springer Nature’s “Climate Change Management Series”, the world’s leading peer-reviewed book series on matters related to climate change .

Expressions of interest to contribute to the book, initially consisting of a 200-word abstract, with the title of the work, qualifications and the full contact details of the authors, should be sent to Dr. Johannes Luetz Details on the online submission and the peer-review process will be shared with those authors whose abstracts are accepted. The deadline for the submissions of abstracts is 29 February 2020. Full papers are due by 30 June 2020. The book is expected to be launched in late-2020.

Editors: Dr Johannes Luetz and Prof Patrick Nunn


Pacific Islands and Climate Change


Pacific Islands and Climate Change