• An approach to understanding community members' perceptions of climate change in three rural indigenous Mexican communities

      Kent, Tricia (2017-05)
      This case study describes an approach to understanding community members' perceptions of climate change in three rural indigenous communities in the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Seven participatory tools were applied to assess community members' experience of current climate change conditions, the challenges posed by changing conditions, and their communities' efforts to adapt. Tools, such as the Stratified Timeline, that provided community members time to work in groups and reflect on the questions they were asked allowed them to better express their knowledge of climate change than tools that isolated community members or used technical language such as the Pre and Post-Test. Although community members were generally aware of changes in their climate, they were unfamiliar with the concept of adaptation or of how certain activities could help them adapt. Through their responses to these seven tools, community members expressed their belief that the climate is in fact changing in their region of Oaxaca. The biggest concern in all three communities was the lack of seasonal rains, which was affecting their ability to farm and ensure food security. Some adaptations, provided through soil and water conservation projects, were being undertaken in the region through governmental entities such as the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve, but there is great need and much interest in having more of these types of projects implemented, to help communities adapt to climate change.