ECOLOGY OF TLACOTEPEC: MMFRP RESEARCH ABSTRACT

Abstract

Scholarship concerning ecology and climate change has discussed how these factors, in addition to internal local response and economic remedies, may or may not affect migration. Many scholars argue that social, political and economic factors play a large role in climate change. However, the current literature still seems to lack a clear understanding of the link between climate change, water resources and out-migration. Although it would be nearly impossible to link all three aspects in a linear or causal manner, with our studies of Tlacotepec, Mexico, we seek to investigate the looming subjects of land erosion, desertification and lack of accessible water. By examining other possible factors—such as the changing nature of land ownership, access to credit and irrigation water and perceptions of agriculture as a viable economic opportunity—we hope to add a unique and extensive understanding to the current literature.

Current Scholarship

Charnley discusses a “cascade effect,” in which migration may cause environmental change in the receiving location, spurring another round of migration. Hugo argues that migration is affected by the environment, but that the environment can simultaneously be affected by migration. His carrying-capacity model predicts that carrying capacity falls as a result of slash-and-burn farming or deforestation in small, isolated communities with limited economic resources, where inhabitants often turn to migration as a solution. Gray, on the other hand, argues that the link between environmental degradation and migration is overemphasized, based on work done in rural Ecuador. We wish to contribute to literature on the environment and migration by using the Tlacotepec case study to weigh in on the debate over the degree to which such links are measurable.

Goals

Studied responses to environmental problems are varied. It is clear that in some areas, migration is the only viable option for economic sustainability. As Najib discusses, migrants tend to have a relatively good awareness of environmental issues but do not have the means to focus remittances on innovation that could alleviate their condition. Migrants and non-migrants alike agreed that scarce resources needed to be conserved, but few were willing to make the necessary changes in their daily lives. We are curious to see if a similar situation can be measured among Tlacotepenses. We are also interested in furthering the understanding of the effects of transnational participation in projects related to climate changes and increasingly degrading land conditions. Some scholars have shown that these can be positive factors in agricultural development and growth of social capital, while others have found they can have an unintentionally negative effect on the resourcefulness or even awareness of home-community residents. There is a generous amount of research on what determines a community’s ability to respond to both sustained and sudden crises. Our research will aim to understand in what ways Tlacotepenses have responded to their particular situation and then fit our finding into the larger body of research.

Photo courtesy of L24K.

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2 responses to “ECOLOGY OF TLACOTEPEC: MMFRP RESEARCH ABSTRACT

  1. While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
    Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.

  2. While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
    Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.

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