RESOURCE: NEW NATIONAL NETWORK HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FACED BY U.S. ISLANDS IN BUILDING CLIMATE RESILIENCE
“Under the weight of climate change impacts—biodiversity loss, debilitating storms, and
swallowing seas—islands are not sinking. Strong and resilient, islands are rising.”
In solidarity, islands are uniting in common purpose….islands are distant, but they are not alone.
Together, Islands Are Rising.”
DR. AUSTIN J. SHELTON
Director of the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant
and Co-Chair of the Climate Strong Islands Network Steering Committee
These excerpts from Dr. Austin Shelton, director of the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, in his March 2021 testimony to Congress help get to the heart of why the Island Institute is helping to launch a new, national network focused on increasing the climate resilience of islands across the U.S. The Climate Strong Islands Network is building momentum for local and federal action on climate for islands that are U.S. territories, states, and parts of states, and Shelton serves as a co-chair. As we help to prepare for the network’s September 23rd virtual fall gathering, I want to share why the Island Institute is leaning into this important work.
Throughout our nearly 40-year history, the Island Institute has often played a role to help connect Maine’s island communities to other, similarly situated communities in the U.S. and beyond. By participating in networks, learning exchanges, and even research publications, we’ve seen the value in helping Mainers expand their networks and even build their confidence as leaders by providing an avenue for them to share the stories of their hard work. Over the past five years, this approach has become an intentional part of our program design: creating opportunities that make it easier for local leaders to access what has worked in other places and partnering beyond Maine to create opportunity for our coast and others.