Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico
From floods and droughts to tsunamis and hurricanes, recent years have seen a distressing and often devastating increase in extreme climatic events. While it is possible to study these disasters from a purely scientific perspective, a growing preponderance of evidence suggests that changes in the environment are related to both a shift in global economic relations and these weather-related disasters. In Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico, Hallie Eakin draws on ethnographic data collected in three agricultural communities in rural Mexico to show how economic and climatic change are not only linked in cause and effect at the planetary scale but also interact in unpredictable and complex ways in the context of regional political and trade relationships, national economic and social programs, and the decision making of institutions, enterprises, and individuals. She shows how the parallel processes of globalization and climatic change result in populations that are "doubly exposed" and thus particularly vulnerable.
Chapters trace the effects of El Niño in central Mexico in the late 1990s alongside some of the principal changes in the country's agricultural policy. Eakin argues that in order to develop policies that effectively address rural poverty and agricultural development, we need an improved understanding of how households cope simultaneously with various sources of uncertainty and adjust their livelihoods to accommodate newly evolving environmental, political, and economic realities.
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