Understanding how Communities Respond to Sudden Hydro-Climatic Changes
Project #: 21
Name: Sheller, Mimi (firstname.lastname@example.org; 215-571-3652)
Department: Centers for Mobilities and Research
Academic Area: Environmental Policy/International Area Studies/Mobilities Research/Science, Technology, and Society/Sociology
Title: Understanding how Communities Respond to Sudden Hydro-Climatic Changes: Exploring Sustainable Solutions in the Cross-border Enriquillo Lake region of the Dominican Republic and Lake Saumatre region of Haiti
The two largest lakes in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are, respectively, the Saumatre and Enriquillo lakes, both of which are salt water lakes. Lake Enriquillo is at the lowest point in the Caribbean, and is within several miles of Lake Saumatre. Both lakes have been growing drastically in size over the past several years. The socio-economic impact of this growth of the lakes has been very dramatic. Since the lakes began their recent rapid growth, more than 15,000 hectares of agricultural and grass land around the lakes have been flooded, having a strong negative impact on 2,500 farms in 16 communities with total estimates of 10,000 individuals affected. As part of a joint project between Dr. Sheller and engineering colleagues at CCNY and INTEC (Dominican Republic) you will have the opportunity to assist in analyzing data from an NSF-funded research project that integrates observations, integrated earth-system modeling and community engagement and is designed to lead to accelerated documentation of the causes of the growth of the lakes and to support policy formulation for handling the consequences. The urgent questions in need of answers are: Through rapid monitoring and modeling, can the hypothesis be supported that a warming climate is impacting the overall hydro-balance of the lakes? How is this hydro-balance reflected in terms of lake volume and surface area? What may be the response of informed communities to the emergency presented by continuously expanding flood lands? In relation to mobilities research the question of how communities adapt to climate change and disruptions caused by changing environmental conditions is very important. This project builds on previous research on post-earthquake Haiti, and also involves collaboration between engineers and social scientists.
Associated Independent Study:
Depending on the Research Fellow's academic major, you will be able to develop an independent study focusing on some aspect of the problem of flooding in the Lake Enriquillo/Lake Saumatre region. Potential areas of focus include: What kinds of government policy can help communities adapt to major environmental disruptions related to climate change? How can cross-border cooperation in a multilingual environment (Spanish & Kreyol) address common environmental threats? How can hydroclimatological scientists, engineers, and social scientists work together to develop shared approaches to environmental problems?
The student will be able to gain experience of working with cross-institutional and cross-national NSF-funded research team, including other students at CCNY and in the Dominican Republic and Haiti; will gain a better understanding of cross-disciplinary research that addresses combined human and natural systems; and will potentially be able to develop a related research project of his or her own.
The outcome will be a conference presentation, and eventually a collaborative research article
Transcribing recorded interview data; qualitative analysis of interview data; creating tables representing socio-economic data; doing bibliographic searches using library databases; possibly reading and writing summary reports on NGO activities and policy documents related to the region in question; otherwise assisting in research tasks as they arise.
Drexel offices and library
To be determined - but up to two-three times a week for an hour, plus independent research and participation in occasional research group conference calls.
Interview Availability: March 6, March 7