Illustration of Carribean Climate Resilience

Supporting Caribbean Climate Resilience

The Global School at WPI has been awarded a major new national grant from the NOAA-CPO (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office) as part of its Climate Adaptation Partnerships (CAP). This new Caribbean Climate Adaptation Network (CCAN) will advance more equitable climate adaptation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through interdisciplinary regional research and community engagement. It will focus on multiple climate and society issues and develop a set of interconnected projects that build the capacity of regional partners to act on those issues.

The $6 million award is a five-year cooperative agreement with NOAA. The lead institution is University of Puerto Rico (Dr. Pablo Mendez-Lazaro). Five WPI researchers are involved in the project: Mimi Sheller, dean of The Global School; Sarah Strauss, professor of anthropology in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies; Seth Tuler, associate professor in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies; John-Michael Davis, assistant professor of teaching; and Scott Jiusto, professor emeritus. WPI students, both graduate and undergraduate, are also participating in the research through the Global Projects Program’s Puerto Rico Project Center in San Juan.

CAP’s national objectives are closely aligned with those of WPI—specifically to create networks of people working together to support “collaborative research relationships that help communities build lasting and equitable climate resilience” within social contexts. The research will be accomplished by teams of research institutions, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments engaging in a variety of applied and co-developed research with communities.

Other partnering institutions include University of the Virgin Islands; University of South Florida; Mayaguez; University of Texas, Austin; City College of New York; University at Albany; NYU; the U.S. Forest Service; and Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System. Ultimately, it is hoped that by strengthening this regional knowledge-action network, communities in the U.S. Caribbean will be able to better implement climate adaptation planning and policies that will help reduce vulnerability to future climate disasters, including hurricanes, extreme rainfall, extreme heat, drought, landslides, and coastal and river flooding.

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