Because of the Rain? – University of Copenhagen

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Because of the Rain? Causation, entanglement and climate variability in Northern Burkina Faso

Climate change and variability has in the Sahel already ‘descended into the ordinary'. During the last 50 years the Sahel has experienced a most dramatic change to the rain which has decreased in quantity, duration and reliability. This change to the rain has been a dominant feature of life in the two villages Biidi 2 and Belgou in the Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso.

But can rain, or climate, be untangled from other drivers of change? Decisions taken in the villages are entangled in and perforated by local, national and global connections and disconnection. What causes people to perceive things and act the way they do, and how can these perceptions and actions be related to isolated phenomenon like water in an increasingly interconnected world?

The field work will take place in Biidi 2 and Belgou as the villages are similar in cultural, geographical and economic terms, but differentiated by the amount of rain they receive. Participant observation and interviews will be the main methods used, but coupled human-ecological timelines, GPS measurements, questionnaires and historical and meteorological data will be incorporated in order to untangle causation in human-environmental relations.

Jonas Østergaard Nielsen