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WIREs Clim Change
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It's not “too late”: Learning from Pacific Small Island Developing States in a warming world

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Abstract The scale and speed of action required to limit global warming is unprecedented. However, claims that it is “too late” to act or that societal collapse is “inevitable,” must be challenged, particularly in the context of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS). Here, the serious impacts of sea‐level rise may already be unavoidable, but ongoing global mitigation efforts are essential to avoid further catastrophic impacts. First, narratives of despair reinforce social distancing in ways that make it harder to assert claims of shared responsibility for past climate injustices and mutual obligations in the future. Second, claims that it too late to avoid societal collapse overlook significant adaptation efforts already initiated by PSIDS, particularly those led by women and youth, which are informed by distinctive community values of Vai Nui or Fonofale (interconnected well‐living). These values have sustained PSIDS societies through traumatic histories of colonization, racism, and violence, and are still positioned to support communities suffering now, and when facing future risks. This article is categorized under: Policy and Governance > Governing Climate Change in Communities, Cities, and Regions

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