Climate change, justice, and adaptation among African American communities in the chesapeake bay region

Michael Paolisso*, Ellen Douglas, Ashley Enrici, Paul Kirshen, Chris Watson, Matthias Ruth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, the authors present results from a study of climate change and community adaptation, focusing on two African American communities on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. These two communities are representative of small, resource-poor communities that are particularly prone to increased flooding, storms, and erosion accompanying climate change. The authors frame their research within a focus on distributive and procedural justice, including considerations of the role of adaptation capacity and vulnerability. They use methods from cognitive-environmental anthropology and psychometrics to ground a participatory and multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes community participation and the sharing of scientific and program information on climate change and adaptation. Their results suggest that community members have a holistic understanding of climate change, recognize a wide range of potential community and individual impacts, face specific vulnerabilities, and are organized through their churches to engage in efforts to reduce the impacts of increased flooding and storms on their communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-47
Number of pages14
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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