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You are here: Home Discuss Session 10 – 11.15.2010 Worked examples of concepts in human-environment systems Topic 2: Drivers of displacement and scale

Topic 2: Drivers of displacement and scale

Up to Session 10 – 11.15.2010 Worked examples of concepts in human-environment systems
What are the interactions between social and environmental stressors driving displacement? At what scales do these stressors occur and what does this suggest for efforts to foster resilient CHES?

Topic 2:

Posted by wclark at October 08. 2010

Re: Topic 2:

Posted by mtorres at November 26. 2010

Comments on scale

Scale is a fundamental issue when working with projects that Intend to be sustainable.  In a dimensional scale, a project considered sustainable at the regional level can be non sustainable at the local level, and vice versa (like in the example of the reservoir which Erin wrote in one of the previous comments, in which displaced individuals might not judge the project sustainable).  When these differences arise, it is possible (at least theoretically), to work with an interscale scale and reach some type of agreement among the different actors, in which damage is shared among parties and welfare is experienced to some degree by all those involved.

The scale issue is far more complicated when we consider the temporal dimension.  Who can talk for generations that do not yet exist? Would it be correct to value their future needs in terms of our current ones?  I believe that these type of non solved issues should not be avoided. As Dr. Ostrom mentioned, if we want to understand CHES, we can not leave complex systems on the side.  We have to study them from an interdisciplinary and participatory approach, although that might imply more time to understand them.

I believe that part of the causes why the “interventions” mentioned in the Fratkin (2001) paper did not have the desired effects, where precisely because the complexity of systems was not considered, and instead they were limited in applying a single formula, such that decisions and influence were only one-way (from donors to local inhabitants), without any adjustments in the project to local conditions.  As we have mentioned in previous sessions, the concept of welfare is not universal, hence, if we try to impose a single path towards welfare, we run the risk of leaving a more unstable and unequal system.  Maybe the lesson here would be that more than a single recipe, before conducting any project, it would be important to first understand the social and environmental context as best as possible, and have a participatory approach from the start, where the people affected by any project might have a voice and a vote on how they want to move towards a mores sustainable system.


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