GHEA: Surviving Climate Change in the Caribbean: Using the time depth of human experience to build sustainable societies

Project Leader: Jago Cooper

Project Type: GHEA Project Proposal

GHEA Project Collaborators

Start: 31/01/2012
End: 30/01/2017

Project website:


The proposed ‘Surviving Climate Change in the Caribbean: Using the Time Depth of Human Experience to Build Sustainable Societies’ project is an attempt to provide an improved understanding of long term human-climate-environment relationships in the Caribbean. Focused on developing an interdisciplinary ontology for data interoperability, this project aims to produce integrated paleosocietal, paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental pasts for the islands of the Caribbean. The project develops a regional approach to understanding how different human lifeways are relatively resilient to the impacts of climatic variability and change, before testing hypotheses using local case studies built upon ongoing fieldwork projects that have produced high-resolution interdisciplinary datasets. Records of pre-Columbian settlement locations, household architecture and food procurement strategies are contextualized within local paleoclimatic settings using studies of marine sediment cores, marine shells and speleothems from selected case study sites. These are combined with wider paleoenvironmental reconstructions that synthesize existing paleobotanical, zooarchaeological and geomorphological data for changing island environments and landscapes over time. It is hoped that this project will provide key lessons for understanding the dynamic relationship between human activity, climate variability and environmental change in the Caribbean that will have important implications for modern day communities in the region currently facing the impacts of impending global change. This project proposal will be submitted to the European Research Council, Starting Independent Researcher Scheme. Should any GHEA member be interested in learning more about this proposed project, reading the project proposal document or becoming a future GHEA collaborator on the project, please contact Jago Cooper (