Impacts of Climate Change on Cultural Heritage on Bonaire An assessment of the impacts of climate change on Bonairians’ Cultural Heritage

Part of the larger The impacts of climate change on Bonaire (2022-present) report available here.


Climate change causes many problems, including non-economic loss and damage. However, non-economic damages are often overlooked as they are hard to measure and not felt by the wider society. The Caribbean region is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This project investigates the impacts of climate change on cultural heritage on Bonaire.

Expert interviews, participatory mapping, and social media analysis were applied to identify Bonaire’s most important cultural heritage. Overlaying the resulting cultural heritage maps with inundation and flood maps from the different climate change scenarios for 2150 showed the predicted impacts of climate change on tangible cultural heritage. The inundation maps show that the southern tip of the island, with its lighthouse, slave huts, and salt pans, will most likely be flooded in 2150, as well parts of Kralendijk under climate scenarios SSP5-8.5 and SSP5-8.5 LC. The climate change impacts on intangible cultural heritage was predicted by means of expert interviews. Climate change is predicted to impact fisheries, agricultural practices, art, and festivities on Bonaire, even though these results are more exploratory and uncertain. Bonaire’s cultural heritage is at risk and the island will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Decision-makers should take their responsibility to support Bonaire’s adaptation to the expected impacts accordingly.

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