Climate Displacement – A Second Chance to Get it Right

Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana photo:

Climate Displacement – A Second Chance to Get it Right

by Kristina Peterson, Ph.D., Lowlander Center, Gray, Louisiana,

Tuesday March 26, 2019, 4:00-5:30 pm,

UMass Amherst, Integrated Learning Center, 650 North Pleasant Street, room S 131

The displacement of population, be it small towns, Tribes or communities within cities does not have to follow old models of urban renewal and gentrification or even some of the trendier models for the well healed.  Communities have an opportunity to take control of what their future can be and dream big, not replicating inequities of resources, injustices of services or diminished qualities that contribute to ill health and wellbeing.   What have we learned from civil rights, disaster mitigation and green sustainable practices has to blend itself into visioning a society of justice and wellbeing for all its members not just a few. Climate displacement might be that opportunity to change the course. 

Kristina J. Peterson, Ph.D (Anthropology), is Facilitator- Director of the Lowlander Center in Gray, Louisiana ( She conducts research with community members on historic and contemporary efforts of successful community resilience, and   helps create safe venues for participation and discourse on coastal issues with and for traditional and indigenous high-risk coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana. Peterson coordinated a N.O.A.A. resiliency project in the Jean Lafitte region and was the project coordinator of a grassroots planning engagement effort in Plaquemines Parish funded through the Greater New Orleans Foundation targeting traditionally excluded populations.  Current work includes the radical adaptation needed in the climate crisis.  The efforts have resulted in an award by the HUD-NDRC for the resettlement vision of Isle de Jean Charles Tribe and is continuing under a NAS grant to assure the community is in control of its own vision. Work also includes the development of Louisiana Universities Resilient Architectural Consortium (LURAC) to help students learn broad measures of mitigation and inclusion for a more resilient Louisiana.  Through the partnering with other organizations, Lowlander is on the front edge of displacement, relocation/resettlement issues including the justice of those areas that are potential receivers of displaced populations. 

Co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Departments of History, Political Science, Resource Economics, Environmental Conservation, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; the School of Public Policy and the School of Earth and Sustainability; and the Institute for Diversity Sciences Research Group on Climate Change, Diversity, and Disparity. 

Note:for more on the Isle de Jean Charles Tribal resettlement, see