Exploring resilience

Terra Sprague

Terra Sprague (PhD 2014-) is exploring the environmental resilience of small island states, where rising sea levels and temperatures are already a reality.

'Conversations about climate change often focus on how developed countries can cope with rises in global temperature and sea level. Meanwhile, small island states in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans already face the reality of living with – and reacting to – these changes. For them, adapting is a matter of national security.

'Often, these small islands are considered vulnerable, where they view themselves as resilient. My research seeks to explore this concept of resilience, as we have much to learn from their collective experience. Their insight (largely absent from international literature) will provide environmental change researchers and policymakers with powerful real-life examples; one of my research outcomes is to consider ways these can be introduced to the wider international development community.

'I’m only six months into my studies, but I’ve already piloted some data collection instruments and organised my first phase of field work. I’m also working on a website to help solicit stories from those living in small island states.

'Being a Bristol alumna myself (MEd 2008), receiving alumni funding to pursue my PhD is particularly meaningful – it makes me especially proud of the Bristol community. The financial support I’ve received has allowed me to address my research at pace, and work with people across the globe. Thank you.'

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