Climate Change, Emotions and Religion: Imagining the Future in Central Oceania

2020 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

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​Climate Change, Emotions and Religion: Imagining the Future in Central Oceania​
Hermann, E. ​ (2020) 
Anthropological Forum30(3) pp. 274​-291​.​ DOI: 

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Hermann, Elfriede 
Pacific Islanders often respond emotionally and with recourse to their religious beliefs when faced with news about the projected consequences of climate change. In view of these responses, this paper argues that Pacific Islanders frequently combine their emotions with their religiosity in their efforts to shape their future. A case study of the atoll state of Kiribati illustrates this point. Given that most of this Pacific state’s islands are low-lying atolls or reef islands, it is widely considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate change effects. In this context, many citizens of Kiribati have recourse to their Christian beliefs to deal with feelings of uncertainty and imagine a future for their descendants. On the one hand, their religiosity helps them to cope with the worry over their land, fear of a rising sea level and sadness at the thought of a worst-case scenario and develop social resilience. On the other hand, they rely on their beliefs to confirm their love of their land and draw hope and gain strength from it in order to take adaptive measures.
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Anthropological Forum 
Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät ; Institut für Ethnologie 
0066-4677; 1469-2902



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