Social Capital as a Source of Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Developing Countries

By Vivek Prasad, Monique Helfrich and Susan A. Crate.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this paper is to explore adaptation to the impacts of global climate change, specifically focusing on adaptation in the agricultural sectors of developing countries. Case studies were conducted using two countries, India and Bangladesh that were considered representative of these developing countries. In our case study analysis, we placed special emphasis on developing an understanding of the dynamics of the relationship between social capital and adaptation in resource dependent communities. Of particular interest are insights related to the relationship between adaptation and social capital, the implications of social capital on the resilience of individuals and their communities, and their flexibility in responding to changing circumstances. Insights from these case studies help to identify areas of future research. Perhaps most importantly, while the existing literature indicates a link between social capital and climate change adaptation, there is a need for additional data to further understand this human-environment interaction.

Keywords: Global Climate Change, Adaptation, Social Capital, Developing Country, India, Bangladesh, Agricultural Sectors

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.149-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.090MB).

Vivek Prasad

PhD Student, Environmental Science and Public Policy, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia, USA

Vivek Prasad is a PhD student in the Environmental Science and Public Policy Program at the George Mason University VA. He has worked in the Environmental and Development issues for more than five years in India. His work ranges from grass-root environmental activism to providing consultancy in the community based natural resource management. His current research focus is on understanding human dimensions of climate change primarily aiming to assess climate change vulnerability and adaptations strategies leading to the policy recommendations. Additionally, he is looking at the strategies to integrate climate change issues with community development. This is an interdisciplinary research and he is using qualitative and quantitative techniques. He will conduct his field research in Jharkhand state of India. He has also been engaged in teaching undergraduate courses, such as human dimension of climate change, quantitative techniques in research and introductory environmental science.

Monique Helfrich

PhD student, School Of Public Policy, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia, USA

Ms. Helfrich is currently a PhD student in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. She has extensive experience in functional oversight and as a team leader, team member and independent researcher/analyst in a wide variety of issues in the areas of safety and hazards analysis and environmental protection and waste management. Her work experience in the area of safety and hazards analysis for nuclear and chemical facilities has included: support to the development of safety analysis reports; review of the safety bases for nuclear and hazardous facilities and processes; oversight of the startup of process operations; and development and implementation of safety requirements. Her work experience in the area of environmental protection and waste management has included research to develop new waste treatment technologies; computer modeling of chemical processes and their effect on the environment; evaluation of the effects of long-term storage of waste on the e nvironment and development of alternative closure methods for these sites; evaluation of ongoing waste generation and disposal efforts; and implementation of environmental requirements.

Susan A. Crate

Assistant Professor Human Ecology, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Dr. Susan A. Crate is an assistant professor of Human Ecology in George Mason’s Environmental Science & Policy Department. She is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in environmental and cognitive anthropology. She has worked with indigenous communities in Siberia since 1988 and specifically with Viliui Sakha since 1991. Crate is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, one monograph, Cows, Kin and Globalization: An Ethnography of Sustainability, 2006, Alta Mira Press and an edited volume, Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions, 2009, Left Coast Press. Her current research focuses on understanding local perceptions, adaptations, and resilience of Viliui Sakha communities in the face of unprecedented climate change.

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