Feb 4 2011 | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Water Conflicts and Technological Solutions to Climate Change: An Historical Analysis from the Peruvian Andes
1014 Tisch Hall - 435 S State St

Sponsored by: Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Eisenberg Institute, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History
Speaker: Mark Carey, Assistant Professor of History, University of Oregon

Despite increasing involvement of social scientists in climate change research, there are still relatively few empirical studies that analyze actual cases of societal adaptation to global warming. This historical presentation examines such a case of long-term adaptation to climate change and ongoing conflicts over dwindling water supplies at Lake Paron in the Peruvian Andes. Over several decades, Paron transformed from a dangerous flood hazard to a lucrative reservoir. But with neoliberal privatization, a shifting political-economic landscape, and evolving cultural perceptions, Paron turned into a highly contested site of conflict over its precious but dwindling amount of water. The paper reveals the outcome of this struggle while demonstrating more broadly how engineering and technological solutions to climate change can trigger far-reaching unintended consequences and social conflict.