Climate change and disaster vulnerability : community-based socio-ecological resilience research and planning in Hawaiʻi

Henly-Shepard, Sarah Elizabeth
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Much of the ecological degradation, high urban density and hazard vulnerability in the world are found in coastal regions and islands, including the State of Hawaiʻi and Pacific Islands. Many of these areas are vulnerable to hazard events and climate change impacts, for which engineering solutions and infrastructure measures are not always feasible and may cause further damage to the environment. Issues of poverty and wealth inequalities, poor natural resource management, and human rights abuses further exacerbate physical, social and ecological vulnerabilities to disasters. Moving away from the antiquated reactionary relief model, a movement is underway to engage in disaster resilience, an interdisciplinary approach of proactive prevention, preparation, risk reduction and adaptation. Due to extreme geographic remoteness and high risk to multiple hazards, emergency managers, communities and resource managers in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific must develop long-term resilience-building strategies that increase environmental stewardship, social well-being, and food and water security, particularly in the face of potential impacts from climate change. The dissertation employed a community-based participatory research and learning approach to address these issues, collaborating with community and multi-sector stakeholders to build capacity for development of place-based, ecologically sound and socially appropriate integrated disaster resilience plans. The research addressed critical theoretical and practical gaps by utilizing mixed quantitative and qualitative approaches and diverse tools. Adaptable community-based socio-ecological resilience frameworks promoted better linkages between socio-ecological systems, disaster preparedness, relief, recovery and sustainable development, and facilitated social learning and institutionalized resilience planning mechanisms to generate innovative solutions to the complex issues of climate change, socio-ecological vulnerability reduction and sustainable development.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
natural disasters
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