The paper looks at local experience and concerns in environmental disasters in the upper Indus Basin, widely thought to become more serious due to climate change. Emphasis is on the lives and livelihoods, responses, and concerns of those most affected. Several events and their contexts are examined. They highlight socially distributed and differentiated risks, losses, adaptive capacities, and available or absent protections. Cases at the village level underline problems relating to aspects of women's work and health; and how, while traditional practices are being enforced to ensure their continued seclusion and subordination, the villages and men's work are increasingly drawn into the modern economy and modernizing developments. Often these trends undermine traditional risk-averse practices but fail to provide alternatives. Some larger disasters reveal a disconnect between research and official responses, and expose the needs of local communities, whether in villages or mountain towns. This study examines how exposure and vulnerability to environmental dangers are a social construct. It leads to an argument for the “professional ear” in these contexts, finding ways to listen to those rarely heard, and translations that respect their concerns. Such work looks at conditions essentially invisible to climate models, and differing in character and approach. Arguably, it should come ahead of attempts to use model results to propose adaptive responses in these contexts.
Azhar-Hewitt, F. and Hewitt, K. (2012), "Chapter 4 Technocratic Approaches and Community Contexts: Viewpoints of Those Most at Risk from Environmental Disasters in Mountain Areas, Northern Pakistan", Lamadrid, A. and Kelman, I. (Ed.) Climate Change Modeling For Local Adaptation In The Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region (Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 53-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-7262(2012)0000011010Download as .RIS
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