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Andrew McCumber

citizens. This analysis is situated in the current cultural-environmental moment of the California drought, as the article will also answer the question of how have drought conditions affected the city’s plant aesthetic, and its population’s cultural

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Hydrologic Habitus

Wells, Watering Practices, and Water Supply Infrastructure

Brock Ternes and Brian Donovan

Private water wells and municipal water supplies function as different systems of water provision, creating distinct—but understudied—patterns of water consumption. This article examines private well ownership to assess the relationships among conspicuous water consumption, cultural practices, and environmental structures. We surveyed well owners and non-well owners throughout Kansas, a state highly reliant on groundwater (n = 864). Borrowing insights from Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural consumption, this research considers the relationships between demographic variables and watering routines. We provide evidence that well ownership is a significant predictor of conspicuous water usage, and suggest attention to individuals’ hydrologic habitus—a disposition toward water usage shaped by infrastructure, class, and pertinent social variables—facilitates a better understanding of well ownership, drought-time watering, and conspicuous water consumption.

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Hesitant Recognition

Toward a Crop Ontology among Sugar Beet Farmers in Western Poland

Dong Ju Kim

In response to climate change, sustainability has become the keyword for exploring alternative ways of cultivation in different parts of the world. However, local farmers still understand these sustainable alternatives in terms of soil nutrients and their absorption by crops. I examine how sugar beet farmers in western Poland read the condition of crops and field conditions, and accordingly try to cope with agricultural droughts in spring and early summer. While they maintain a practical position that is extremely inductivist, they simultaneously allow for symbolic, indexical meanings. These meanings of farming practices are multilayered and evoke relationships, local histories, and traditions. The farmers accept the reality of climate change only hesitantly, and their aspiration of gaining recognition in Europe has only started to penetrate the multilayered indexical meanings of farming practices.

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Riziki S. Shemdoe, Idris S. Kikula and Patrick Van Damme

This article presents local knowledge on ecosystem management by analyzing and discussing traditional tillage practices applied by smallholder farmers as a response to drought risks in dryland areas of Mpwapwa District, central Tanzania. Farming activities in the area wholly depend on rain-fed systems. Information from key informants and in-depth household interviews indicate that farmers in this area use three different traditional tillage practices—no-till (sesa), shallow tillage (kutifua), and ridges (matuta). Available information suggests that selection of a particular practice depends on affordability (in terms of costs and labor requirements), perceived ability to retain nutrient and soil-water, and improvement of control of erosion and crop yield. In this area, smallholder farmers perceive no-till practice to contribute to more weed species, hence more weeding time and labor are needed than in the other two practices. The no-till practice also contributes to low soil fertility, low soil moisture retention, and poor crop yield. No plans have been made to introduce irrigation farming in these marginal areas of central Tanzania. Thus, improving the ability of the tillage practices to conserve soil moisture and maintain soil fertility nutrients using locally available materials are important tasks to be carried out. This will ensure the selection of practices that will have positive influence on improved crop yields in the area.

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Kate Pride Brown

water conservation policies. Some of the predictor variables are not surprising—for example, the wetter East Coast cities generally have a lower VWCI score than the arid Southwest, and drought was a positive predictor of more developed water conservation

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Mimesis and Conspiracy

Bureaucracy, New Media and the Infrastructural Forms of Doubt

Michael Vine and Matthew Carey

decide when it will rain or snow, where, how much, and how toxic the rain or snow will be, where there will be drought or heat.’ Alongside the tall, muscular and imposing figure of Wigington, a panel of ‘experts’ including a former California Department

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Environmental Configurations

When the River Zayandeh Rud Stopped Crossing Isfahan

Sahar Faeghi and Sophie Roche

Among the many consequences of Iran’s suffering from water shortage in recent decades, the major river of Isfahan city, Zayandeh Rud, has dried out. While experts observe this issue through environmental discourses and local farmers engage in political protests, citizens phrase the loss of the river as a cultural catastrophe. Within the environmental configuration that includes the river, historical buildings, parks, fauna, flora and humans, habitual relationships produce a sense of security and well-being. Since the drought, this configuration has been seriously affected. We suggest the drought is experienced as sociocultural disaster because Zayandeh Rud is a central element for the creation of social, cultural, economic and political relationships. Following the suggestion of Tim Ingold, we conceptualise the environment as the interplay between the German notion of Umwelt (out world) and Innenwelt (subjective world).

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The Outburst

Climate Change, Gender Relations, and Situational Analysis

Jonas Østergaard Nielsen

Since the major Sahelian droughts and famines of the early 1970s and 1980s, international development and aid organizations have played a large role in the small village of Biidi 2, located in northern Burkina Faso. This article explores how a visit by a development 'expert' to the village can be analyzed as a social situation in which normal social control is suspended and negotiated. Focusing on gender relations, the analysis shows how the women of Biidi 2 involved in the event were relatively free to construct alternative definitions of their identity and social position vis-à-vis the men.

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Fragile Transfers

Index Insurance and the Global Circuits of Climate Risks in Senegal

Sara Angeli Aguiton

In recent years, Senegal’s developed a program of index insurance to cover farmers from economic losses due to drought. I investigate this emerging market in light of Jane Guyer’s question: “What is a ‘risk’ as a transacted ‘thing’?” To grasp the social practices required to make “rainfall deficit” a transferable risk, I explore the climate and market infrastructure that brings it into existence and follows actors who function as brokers allowing the risk to circulate from Senegalese fields to the global reinsurance industry. I show that the strategies set up to convince farmers to integrate a green and rational capitalist management of climate risks are very fragile, and the index insurance program only endures because it is embedded in the broader political economy of rural development based on debt and international aid.

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Water scarcity and sustainability in the arid area of North America

Insights gained from a cross-border perspective

Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia and John W. Day

aquifer to surface at the Glendale Narrows. From there is flowed about 20 miles to the sea. There were also a number of other smaller water sources in the area. However, rainfall in the area is highly erratic, with droughts interspersed with strong storms