Monday, June 23, 2014

Migration, Racism, and Los Indios de Perú

While climate change denial is still rampant in the United States, campesinos in the Andean Highlands are more than aware that it's happening, and fast. They're seeing increased risk to their crops from flooding, pests, drought and heavy rains, and because many are subsistence farmers on small plots of land, little shifts in production can threaten a family’s food security. Lacking the resources and credit to get new seeds and tools, migration has become one of the main strategies for coping with these losses.

The thing is, migration comes with its own inherent risks regarding climate change. The city of Cusco is already extremely economically fragmented. It's rearranging to accommodate tourists (see: Jeff's prior post about the Noche de Turismo and Tourism is Colonization), raising prices and crafting laws to limit street vendors in the center town market. With no current disaster response and urban planning to accommodate urban growth, Indigenous (more on this term later) populations relocating from Cusco Province to Cusco city may be trading in one set of climate change impacts for another, along with poverty and unsustainable population growth. 

And racism is, as everywhere in the world, alive and well in Cusco, adding to their mounting challenges.

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