This chapter briefly discusses an often overlooked impact of the loss of the Aral Sea, the social costs to the population in the surrounding areas. While much focus has been on the shrinkage of the Aral in the past half century, the story is much older and includes a diversity of people, ecosystems, and productive ways of living in a harsh climate. This chapter is an overview of how ecological parameters have influenced life for the local population in Karakalpakstan. The research is based on a short site visit and tests ideas for a longer project that will look at who is migrating for employment, based on what criteria, and the dynamics of that choice. Seminal writings about human activity around the Aral when it was full, along with recent reports on livelihoods, health, and migration patterns are reviewed. The chapter supports the idea that migration can be an adaptation to climate. Migration is overall a negative social sustainability indicator for Karakalpakstan.
Cerny, A. (2012), "The Tragedy of the Aral: Counting on Cotton, a Region Loses its People", Edelstein, M., Cerny, A. and Gadaev, A. (Ed.) Disaster by Design: The Aral Sea and its Lessons for Sustainability (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0196-1152(2012)0000020025Download as .RIS
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