Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


Edward Van Buren


This thesis focuses on food security in Micronesian Island nations and how the effects of climate change are detrimental to the region’s fisheries resources and agricultural production. Because the Micronesian islands are on the forefront of climate change, the effects of ocean acidification, rising sea levels, and higher mean surface areas pose immediate risks to the region’s food security. Not only does climate change threaten both sources of the region’s food – fisheries and traditional agriculture – but includes ramifications for economic development, environmental conservation, and public health. Each island nation in the Pacific is entitled to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Because most of the world’s tuna stocks are concentrated in the Western Pacific, Pacific Island Countries (PIC) derive a significant portion of government revenue from selling tuna fishing licenses to countries such as Australia, China, Japan, and the US. Chapter 1 covers a brief history of the existing food systems in the Micronesian islands and pertinent data on the Micronesian islands’ climate, economy, geography, and health. Chapter 2 delves into climate change impacts on the islands’ terrestrial and marine ecology and the subsequent effects on island nations’ food sources both through agriculture and fisheries. Chapter 3 assesses the economic impacts – direct, indirect, and intangible costs – associated with the vulnerable food systems of island nations. Chapter 4 examines the resulting impacts on the nations’ overall public health conditions due to the disruptions in the vulnerable food systems. Chapter 5 poses several policy recommendations that address sustainable development, climate adaptation, and economic development. Overall, the overlapping lens of ecology, economics, and public health are used in exploring the impacts of climate change on food security on the Micronesian island nations.