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Adaptation Narratives: Climate Change and Environmental Politics in Mexican Costal Communities

Adaptation Narratives: Climate Change and Environmental Politics in Mexican Costal Communities

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Title: Adaptation Narratives: Climate Change and Environmental Politics in Mexican Costal Communities
Author: Vazquez Garcia, Luz Maria
Abstract: This dissertation explores some key challenges the Mexican government and international organizations such as the World Bank may face when implementing climate change adaptation initiatives in coastal lagoon communities in the Mexican state of Tabasco, in the Gulf of Mexico. My analysis of the government’s climate change adaptation initiatives, scientists’ explanations, and fishers’ views on local environmental changes is based on political ecology approaches to environmental narratives, and critical literature on climate change. It outlines the interaction among three environmental narratives: that produced by the Mexican government and its allies who are re-orienting environmental programs into climate change adaptation programs; scientific narratives on coastal environmental processes including coastal erosion; and the narrative produced by poor fishers who are dependent on lagoon and coastal resources for their livelihoods, and who blame the off shore oil industry for most of their environmental problems. Scientific accounts of coastal environmental change tend to support more the position of fishers than the government, which produces a need for the government to be selective in how it uses science to justify its adaptation programs. The dissertation then examines the challenges that state initiatives of this type face when they interact with local environmental politics involving fishers and the state-owned oil industry. While fishers blame the oil industry for environmental problems, government adaptation programs seek to enrol fishers and the oil industry together as vulnerable to the local effects of climate change such as coastal erosion and increased frequency of hurricanes. I discuss how through processes of simplification, state agencies render complex political issues into technical problems, but how, in light of local conflicts, climate change adaptation interventions become highly political on the ground. I also argue that climate change policy analysis must be done in light of past and failed state interventions in Tabasco, which have resulted in what scholars have called a “harmful development” for fishers and ecosystems (Tudela, 1989).
Subject: Sociology
Environmental studies
Latin American studies
Keywords: Climate change adaptation
Environmental sociology
Mexico
Latin America
Environment
Coastal communities
Development
Gulf of Mexico
Political ecology
Climate change vulnerability
Environmental narratives
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/29976
Supervisor: Vandergeest, Peter
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Sociology
Exam date: 2014-12-09
Publish on: 2015-08-28

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