Lindsey Sexton, 52 Islands

The effects of climate change will continue to have a severe impact on islands. People living in the Pacific Islands, for example, are already experiencing shifts in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme tropical storms. Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for many islands already facing development challenges. As a result, individuals, communities, and the government can feel disempowered and confused as to the choices that will allow them to thrive in the face of a changing world.

To help combat these issues, Lindsey Sexton leads the 52 Island project in Funafuti, Tuvalu, Fiji. Most of the Pacific Islands are focusing on adaptation planning within their country, but are not addressing the mobility needs of communities. Individuals and families who have already decided they would like to migrate have found significant challenges, including a lack of financial resources and a need for education.

“We will focus on increasing climate mobility, or as one island leader termed “migrating with dignity,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey, along with three team members share the vision of a transition to a world of thriving communities within a healthy ecosystem. 52 Islands assists island nations with adapting to climate change impacts by mobilizing resources and people in those communities faced with potential displacement. The goal is to work from the community up, and to develop climate mobility strategies, as an addendum to an island’s National Adaptation Plan. They will also provide and help to develop in-country support to implement the climate mobility strategies, which will require significant efforts in education, vocational training, government action, and a supportive community infrastructure from both the vulnerable island and receiving country.

For more information about 52 Islands, visit their website.

GRANT AWARD DATE: November 7, 2015