The Complexity of Adaptation to Climate Change. Exploring adaptation in Rio Grande, Ecuador
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Climate change has become one of the most challenging problems in terms of development, having adverse effects in populations that are already vulnerable to other stressors. At present, the importance of adaptation to climate change has been widely recognized with the objective of reducing the impacts on socionatural systems. Through an analysis grounded in critical realism and network political ecology, the experienced socionatural changes in the communities of Rio Grande river basin, including divergent perceptions of drivers of change, vulnerability and risks among different actors were explored. The results of the study demonstrated the argument that adaptation is a complex process that does not occur in isolation and in response to one stressor, it belongs to a network of factors, including multiple stressors of change, subjectivities, power, politics, scales institutions, norms, and values, which create the context in where it occurs. Additionally the way in which people experience impacts on their livelihoods is differentiated among actors. This research suggest that in order to create long-term socially just responses that can deal with the uncertainties of a changing world, adaptation strategies, policies and programs should take into consideration the underlying factors that influence vulnerability and adaptation.