The Melting Ice – University of Copenhagen

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Waterworlds > Project Pillars > The Melting Ice

The Melting Ice 

The projects of this pillar aim at exploring how populations in areas of ice (the Arctic and in mountainous glacier areas in Peru) perceive the threats to their environment, and how they respond to and incorporate prospective climatic changes into everyday economic and social practices. This part of the project answers the call for knowledge of how climate change will affect the vulnerable social communities in the Arctic and in Peru, where focus so far has mainly been on the natural consequences. 

The wider aim is to assess and compare the different scales and rationalities employed by the three most important actors in the management of the precarious Arctic environment: Firstly, hunters and fishermen seeking practical solutions to new challenges to their livelihood; secondly, scientists foreseeing dramatic changes in climate and natural resources; thirdly, national and international bodies, managing quota systems for the protection of species that have been at the core of local livelihood since times immemorial. The question is how people, whether fishermen, scientists or policy-makers, create and combine knowledge in new and creative ways to best prepares themselves for the future.

Additionally, the current climate change, in particular, has severe consequences for populations inhabiting mountain regions that rely on meltwater from glaciers and permanent ice layers, not only for drinking and washing in the household, but also for agricultural irrigation and other purposes. Thus, in an era of global climate change, the issue of water scarcity emerges as an essential security issue among the marginalized and poor of the Global South. The aim of this study is to examine how rural social and political institutions in the Andes respond to the increasing water scarcity and conflicts caused by climate change.

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