In the shadows of the Andes and the Rockies

Date published: 2008-07-22 2:33:33 PM

Often, the best way to understand a complex issue is through an analogy. That’s exactly what Harry Diaz, director of the Canadian Plains Research Center of the University of Regina, is doing with his diverse team of 15 researchers from six universities in two different countries. The issue is climate change on the Canadian Prairies; the analogy is climate change in north-central Chile.

Canada’s South Saskatchewan River Basin and Chile’s Elqui River Basin have much in common. Both regions have dry climates near major mountain systems, supporting agricultural economies that rely on melting glaciers and mountain snow for irrigation. Climatologists are convinced that these two dry land regions will experience similar challenges as even drier conditions become the norm.

Since 2004, Diaz and his team have been examining how social, economic and political conditions in each region affect a rural community’s vulnerability and adaptability to climate change.

Harry Diaz, Sociology and Social Studies, University of Regina