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read all the materials slides and watch the video in the link below and read he reading then Answer this discussion form 
http://www.isuma.tv/inuit-knowledge-and-climate-change/movie
In this module the topic is climate change… We are examining what role anthropologists have to play researching and assisting the efforts of different societies around the world as they  comprehend, negotiate and adapt to climate change. 

After you have viewed the lecture and completed your reading  please answer the question below. We suggest you write 160-200 words for your forum post.
What is the aim of the Chicago program that anthropologists are involved in? What do anthropologists contribute to the program? What are some of the key findings of their research in Chicago?

Culture & Environment:
Anthropological Approaches
to Environmental Issues
ANT3CAE

MODULE 4.2: Case study: local communities and
glacial retreat in Peruvian Andes

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=17331

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php%3Fid=17331

Jacamba Glacier, Peruvian Andes, 1980 and 2000 (Photos by Tim
Helwig-Larsen)

Case study: Glacier hazard
zones Cordillera Blanca,
Ancash region, Peru (Carey 2014)

Cordillera Blanca;
Ancash region,
Peru

Summary: Culture and climate change
• Anthropologists have an important role to play in understanding and

highlighting the human dimensions of climate change;
• Climate change mitigation and adaptation projects are unlikely to

succeed without close understanding of the societies in which they
are to be implemented;
• Resilience in communities is embedded in historical, social, and

cultural constructions that govern social interactions and the
material development of communities.
• Climate change practitioners can promote resilience to the physical

and material components of a socio-ecological system;
• However the cultural side of resilience requires that livelihoods that

fulfil material, moral and spiritual needs in the context of major
environmental or political change need be maintained to ensure
sense of continuity of meaning and coherence.

References
• Batterbury, S. 2008. “Anthropology and Global Warming: The Need for Environmental Engagement” The Australian Journal of Anthropology Vol. 19 No.

1, pp. 62-68.

• Bolin, I. 2009. “The Glaciers of the Andes are melting: Indigenous and Anthropological knowledge merge in restoring water resources” in S. Crate & M.
Nuttall. (eds.) Anthropology and climate change: from encounters to actions, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California, pp.228-239.

• Carey, M. 2013. “The Politics of Place: Inhabiting and defending Glacier Hazard Zones in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca” in M. Dove (ed.) The Anthropology of
Climate Change: An Historical Reader, Wiley, Hoboken, pp.247-257.

• Crate, S. & M. Nuttall (eds.), 2009. Anthropology and Climate Change: from encounters to actions, Walnut Creek., California: Left Coast
Press.

• Hassan, F. 2009. Human agency, climate change, and culture: an archaeological perspective. In Anthropology and climate change: from
encounters to actions (eds) S.A. Crate & M. Nuttall. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press.

• Haraway, D. N. Ishikawa, S. F. Gilbert, K. Olwig, A. L. Tsing & N. Bubandt 2016, ”Anthropologists Are Talking – About the
Anthropocene”, Ethnos, 81:3, 535-564

• Hassan, F. 2009. ‘Human agency, climate change, and culture: an archaeological perspective”, in S. Crate & M. Nuttall. (eds.) Anthropology and climate
change: from encounters to actions, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California, pp. 39- 69.

• Orlove, B.S. 2009. ‘Glacier retreat: reviewing the limits of human adaptation to climate change’. Environment Vol. 51, pp. 22-34.

• Rockstrom et al 2009. “Planetary Boundaries; exploring the safe Operating space for humanity”, Ecology and Society, Vol. 14 No. 2, p. 32

• Roncoli, C, T. Crane & B Orlove. 2009. “Fielding Climate Change in Cultural Anthropology”. In Anthropology and climate change: from encounters to
actions, S. Crate & M. Nuttall (eds.) Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, pp. 87-115.

• Wilk, R. 2002. Consumption, human needs, and global environmental change. Global Environmental Change vol. 12, pp. 5-13.

HOUSEWORK: REMINDER
• We are moving to trial online discussion forums each

module: (no online tutorials) choose one of 3
questions to respond to – find link to Forum under
each Module banner.

• No online lecture or discussion forum next week
(Module 5)

• Online quiz opens next week Tuesday 7th April at
8.00am, closes Thursday 9th at 11.55pm.

• 12 multiple choice/true-false questions
• 45 min. to complete
• All drawn from subject material.
• The quiz cannot be rerun; if you miss it you miss it.

Culture & Environment:
Anthropological Approaches
to Environmental Issues
ANT3CAE

MODULE 4.1: Climate Change and the
Anthropocene

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=17331

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php%3Fid=17331

Image: Nick Smith 2003

What is the anthropocene?

The Anthropocene: a
problematic concept?

• Eurocentric
• anthropocentric
• allied to development of capitalism;

modernization, & accompanying
dispossession and destruction of
Indigenous societies

Kogi cosmology

http://tairona.myzen.co.uk/index.php/culture/kogi_religion_and_cosmology

http://tairona.myzen.co.uk/index.php/culture/kogi_religion_and_cosmology

Planetary
Limits

Fig: Rockstrom et al 2009 Planetary Boundaries; exploring the safe
Operating space for humanity

Carbon Footprint

http://www.english-online.at/environment/copenhagen-climate-summit/copenhagen-climate-summit-and-global-
warming.htm

9

Population, consumption and
climate change (Wilk 2009)

• Consumer economy in ‘developed’ countries a way of life
based on moving and transforming huge amounts of
materials and energy

• At current rate of consumption we need 18 billion global
hectares of productive land to support lifestyle and absorb
waste.

• Only 11.9 billion hectares available on earth
• We Australians are consuming more than 3 times our fair

share of the planet’s natural resources. (if everyone
consumed like us, we would need 3 earths to support)

• China and India even while consuming less on per capita
basis now rival national levels of consumption and carbon
emissions of ‘developed’ countries

Anthropology and Climate
Change

CC is about people and power, ethics and morals,
environmental costs and justice, and cultural and
spiritual survival

CC is environmental colonialism: global processes were
neither caused by inhabitants of the majority of
climate-sensitive world regions. Yet their inhabitants
experience far-reaching effects.

Episode 1: Summary

• Caution in use of term “the
Anthropocene”

• Treading carefully between “alarm”
and “action”

• A new form of ecological imperialism
(or environmental colonialism)

• climate change ”a threat multiplier”;
magnifies and exacerbates existing
social, political, environmental and
economic problems

13
LINKING CLIMATE ACTION TO
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE

A Case Study of Diverse Chicago
Neighborhoods

Jennifer Hirsch, Sarah Van Deusen Phillips, Edward
Labenski, Christine Dunford, and Troy Peters

‘The point is to learn, how does one community start and scale out. Because the best
impact starts with individuals on a small level and grows out.’

Community Leader, North Kenwood/Oakland
neighborhood, Chicago

Over the past decade, environmental anthropologists have increasingly argued for the
importance of inserting anthropological arguments into debates on climate change
(Magistro 2001, Human Organization 2003, Crate and Nuttall 2009, Baer and Singer
2008). In a recent volume, Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to
Actions, Crate and Nuttall (2009) lay out at least three areas in need of new research
that focus on human-environment relationships: 1) anthropology’s role in exploring
the cultural implications of climate change, 2) facilitating collaborative, community-
based projects focused on mitigation and adaptation, and 3) developing culturally-
sensitive strategies for communicating climate change to diverse audiences. However,
few studies have examined climate change or climate action efforts in diverse urban
areas or even in the United States (Crate 2008).

This chapter presents ongoing applied ethnographic research being led by The
Field Museum’s division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) to
understand sociocultural viewpoints on climate change in Chicago’s diverse neigh-
borhoods (The Field Museum 2009, 2010a, 2010b). This research was commissioned
by the City of Chicago Department of Environment (DOE) to help them develop
locally relevant communication strategies and programs for engaging diverse com-
munities in the Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP). Launched by the City of
Chicago in October 2008, the CCAP aims to reduce carbon emissions to 25 per cent
below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 by implementing five strategies
focused on energy efficiency in buildings, clean and renewable energy, improved
transportation options, waste reduction, and adaptation (City of Chicago 2008).

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/latrobe/detail.action?docID=957669.
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To date, The Field Museum has completed studies in five communities (three of
which are available on the Web at: http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/
ecco/engaging-chicago-communities-climate-action), and we are now in the midst
of doing five more after which the project will be complete. This chapter reports on
the results of our first two studies, in the South Chicago and North Kenwood-
Oakland/Bronzeville (hereafter ‘NKO’) communities, as well as the community
engagement work that has resulted from all of them.

The Field Museum’s goal in undertaking this research project was to help
strengthen climate action in the Chicago area by facilitating the active involvement of
diverse communities. More specifically, using the research as a jumping off point for
additional work with community, environmental, and government organizations
(discussed in the final section of the chapter), we aim to help communities actively
participate in city-led CCAP programs as well as incorporate climate action in their
community-led work and lead grassroots climate action campaigns. To facilitate
innovation in both, our research aims to help establish processes for collaboration and
sharing of ideas. These processes should allow for a multilateral flow of information,
ideas, and best practices—between the City and communities, and among commu-
nities themselves—and also result in building the capacity of community leaders to
lead climate action based on their visions of what it means to be a low-carbon, sus-
tainable city. If our projects are successful, community leaders will not only carry out
CCAP strategies but will participate in long-term planning around climate action
goals and strategies focused both on their specific communities and on the city and
region more generally. We see this as the urban equivalent of involving local popu-
lations in the planning and management of protected areas (Introduction to this
volume).

In addition to serving as an ethnography of human-environment interactions, this
study addresses intersections among climate change mitigation and adaptation strate-
gies and the varied multi-stakeholder interests at the local level, which are often
situated in long-standing historical, institutional, and culturally rooted values and
practices (Poncelet 2004). Our research explores what climate change and climate
action initiatives look like within a context of both innovative collaborations and
multiple long-standing histories of distrust of efforts initiated by outside entities,
including the government. It attempts to address two fundamental questions: 1) how
and under what circumstances can climate change and climate action become an issue
pushed forward at the local level, and 2) what will make climate change feel relevant
and urgent to urban communities? Our research suggests that even in communities
where climate change may not be a predominant local concern, there still exist
opportunities for widespread adoption of carbon reduction strategies by promoting
local quality of life benefits of climate action in areas such as environmental health,
energy efficiency, food security, heritage promotion, affordable housing, youth
engagement, job creation, community safety, or other locally relevant issues.
Anthropology has a great deal to contribute to these debates, and to understanding
how addressing key local concerns—which may or may not be directly related to
climate change—and working effectively with local partners can be central to the

268 Anthropologists and the real world

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/latrobe/detail.action?docID=957669.
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http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/ecco/engaging-chicago-communities-climate-action

http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/ecco/engaging-chicago-communities-climate-action

effectiveness of climate policy, and to generating engagement strategies that work best
for policy makers and community residents alike.

The chapter has five sections. Section 1 presents The Field Museum’s research
methodology and approach to applied anthropology. Section 2 provides a brief
introduction to the communities of South Chicago and North Kenwood/Oakland,
based on our research findings. Section 3 examines findings on climate change
awareness and local environmental practices and values. Section 4 explores commu-
nity concerns that have the potential to link to the CCAP climate action strategies
(referred to in climate change circles as ‘co-benefits’). Finally, Section 5 reviews The
Field Museum’s on-going efforts to turn research findings into action. Throughout,
we highlight the commonalities and differences in our research communities and
suggest ways in which local community assets and environmental values can be built
upon and enhanced by climate action. We aim to provide a specific example of the
role that applied environmental anthropology can play in developing broader parti-
cipatory models for democratic decision making and policy development in a complex
and socially differentiated urban environment.

Section 1: The Field Museum’s Approach To Exploring
Human-Environment Interactions

The division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) is the applied sci-
ence arm of The Field Museum of Natural History. Since its founding in 1995 as two
separate departments (the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change [CCUC],
and Environmental and Conservation Programs), the division has always viewed
research as a step in a larger process of community engagement. As a respected insti-
tution embedded in Chicago’s cultural fabric – and with strong connections to gov-
ernment agencies, area universities, and planning institutes – our work often focuses on
facilitating equitable relationships between small and large organizations (Wali 2006,
The Field Museum 2007). As a natural history museum with four departments focused
on biological and cultural diversity—zoology, botany, geology, and anthropology—our
thematic focus has always been on people and their environments.

Undergirding all of our major projects is a framework developed by CCUC’s
founder, environmental anthropologist Alaka Wali, termed ‘Common Concerns,
Different Responses.’ This framework explains cultural diversity as the product of:
1) environment – the material resources available to us, 2) history – an accumulation
of past actions, ideas, and values, and 3) creativity – human ingenuity that allows us
to develop strategies for overcoming constraints and creating new opportunities for
survival and collaboration (Wali 2006, The Field Museum 2010c). It resonates with
the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) emphasized in this volume, which recognizes
that humans, though capable of complex cultural achievement, are still biological
organisms that exist in a complex relationship with their ecosystem and are therefore
subject to processes of ecological balance (Catton & Dunlap 1980, Dunlap 1980,
1983, Dunlap & Marshall 2007). By overtly recognizing that human cultures operate
within ecological systems of scarcity, we can begin to understand how groups of

A case study of diverse Chicago neighborhoods 269

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
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people come to make sense of their place in both local and global ecological systems.
Furthermore, we can encourage innovative cultural adaptations to scarcity that can
mitigate some of the negative human impacts on the environment, like those that we
now know result in climate change.

ECCo’s focus on human-environment interactions has led us to undertake
anthropological projects focused on place-making: examining and strengthening
residents’ and communities’ relationship to and stewardship of the neighborhoods and
regions in which they live through the nurturing of innovative collaborations
between organizations focused on environmental and sociocultural issues (The Field
Museum 2003, 2008). More specifically, the Common Concerns, Different
Responses framework has led us to focus our research and action programs since the
early 2000s on identifying:

1 community concerns and understandings that link environmental and sociocultural
issues,

2 community assets that can serve as a starting point for broadening community
involvement in work around these concerns,1 and

3 barriers to increased participation in environmental practices and programs.

Climate Action Research: Methods

In the climate action research that is the focus of this chapter, we have conducted
rapid ethnographic research, completing each study in approximately six months,
with the ethnographic component lasting approximately four months. Each study is a
participatory action research project (The Field Museum 2007), which in this case is
conducted by a team including Field Museum anthropologists, staff from the Chicago
Department of Environment, and leaders of community-based organizations in the
communities being studied. Working with community organizations that have strong
social capital has been key to the success of the project: in gaining rapid access to the
community, capitalizing on existing community knowledge, and using the research
process itself as the first step in climate action engagement to begin to build residents’
and community leaders’ understanding and awareness of climate change as well as
their capacity to address it. Involving the DOE has also proven crucial, in ensuring
that we accurately describe the CCAP and the City’s goals, connect to DOE com-
munity partners, and help craft research questions and recommendations so that they
can easily translate to action.

In each of the studies discussed in this chapter (South Chicago and North Ken-
wood/Oakland), we engaged or observed approximately 200 leaders and residents.
Our research activities included the traditional ethnographic methods of interviews,
focus groups, and participant-observation at community meetings and events. We
also employed visual and performative methods (see examples in Figures 13.1 and
13.3), including drawing, object-based storytelling, participatory photography and
photo elicitation, community mapping, and visual prompting (e.g., using photo col-
lages of environmentally-friendly practices to prompt discussion). We find that these

270 Anthropologists and the real world

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/latrobe/detail.action?docID=957669.
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methods draw out local understandings about climate change and environment in
creative ways, and thus help us access information and ideas that might not come forth
using traditional research methods. For example, in South Chicago we conducted a
focus group with Latino residents in which we asked participants to draw what climate
change looks like to them. Some of our approaches (and interdisciplinary methods)
have been influenced by our role as a natural history museum with a strong focus on
material life. Two examples include 1) focus groups that use objects to prompt dis-
cussion and 2) home interviews in which we take photographs of participants inter-
acting with objects and spaces that represent their environmentally-friendly practices.2

Section 2: Community Overview

We chose South Chicago and NKO (for map see Figure 13.2) as the first two
research sites because they seemed fertile ground to explore the potential of making
climate action relevant to a diverse range of residents. Both communities are located
on the city’s South Side and have significant differences in demographics, geography,
and history. South Chicago is racially and ethnically diverse – with a population that
is 62 per cent African American, 33.4 per cent Latino, and 5.6 per cent white – and
largely working-class, with a 2000 Census median income of $34,279. NKO is
racially homogeneous, with a population that is nearly 97 per cent African American,

FIGURE 13.1 Drawing from a focus group in South Chicago in response to the question,
‘What does climate change look like to you?’ the accompanying caption
reads (translated from Spanish): ‘I drew something that represents the
good we can do [for the environment] and the consequences of doing so,
as well as of the bad we are doing and the consequences of that.’

© The Field Museum, ECCo.

A case study of diverse Chicago neighborhoods 271

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/latrobe/detail.action?docID=957669.
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but it has recently become highly class stratified with many subsidized public housing
residents living next to increasingly affluent homeowners.

Like the rest of the Southeast Side in which it is located, South Chicago was born
with the expansion of the American steel industry in the 19th century. Much of the
community derives its identity from an interwoven history of heavy industrialization
and ecological richness, as well as the subsequent histories of immigration and
deindustrialization. As a result, the heritage of South Chicago is grounded in working-
class origins, particularly the strong tradition of labor union activism among the lar-
gely immigrant workers who were the backbone of the mills. Many of the social and
environmental practices we documented in South Chicago can be traced back to the
traditions different groups brought with them and fostered through their experiences in
the steel mills, from Appalachia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America (Sellers 1998 and
Walley 2009).

FIGURE 13.2 Map of research areas in Chicago © The Field Museum, ECCo.

272 Anthropologists and the real world

103RD

127TH

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Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
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In recent years, the Southeast Side has been defined by nearly constant and dra-
matic change. As a result of the steel mill closures in the 1980s, community demo-
graphics shifted and City services contracted as well. Our research suggests that during
this process, residents came to believe that mainstream organizations, including the
City, were not going to take care of them as their livelihoods failed. This, in turn, led
to a strong culture of self-sufficiency and the birth of a plethora of community
organizations that provide social services and advocate for community needs. It also
resulted in a strong tradition of community-based activism that mobilizes residents to
address big challenges—some of which have been related to the environmental
degradation left behind in the region by heavy industry.

Discussions of heritage in South Chicago and the Southeast Side often emphasize
the community’s history of standing up to powerful forces and fighting for justice and
a good quality of life. Stories about the steel mills emphasize not only the work itself,
and how hard it was, but also steelworkers’ experiences organizing for their rights
through union activism—again, across lines of race and ethnicity. This particular
theme is embodied in the popular play, Unfriendly Fire, by local author Kevin
Murphy (2003), which details the events leading to, and the fallout from, the
confrontation between police and union members at Republic Steel on Memorial
Day of 1937. The important role of confrontation also emerges in discussions of the
birth of the region’s environmental movement in the 1980s, which stemmed from
conflicts concerning proposals for increasing landfills in the area and building Chicago’s
third regional airport. Ongoing volunteer efforts to address pollution through restor-
ing and rehabilitating city lots, public parks, and nature preserves are one example of
how this environmental activism in South Chicago continues to this day.

In comparison, NKO has been shaped by competing needs for housing near
downtown. In the late nineteenth century, Chicago’s growing white middle-class
built up NKO as a residential area. Shortly thereafter, the exploding African-American
population—fueled by the Great Migration—was forced to crowd into the neigh-
boring communities that would become Bronzeville. After restrictive covenants fell
in the 1940s, African-American families started moving into NKO from older parts of
the adjacent ‘Black Belt’ to find better housing, and the neighborhood was quickly
absorbed into the greater Bronzeville cultural area. Over its history, NKO has been
influenced time and again by government experiments in urban planning. It has been
victim to discriminatory federal home appraisal practices in the 1930s and 1940s, host
to thousands of public housing units in the 1950s and 1960s, neglected by city plan-
ners in the 1970s, and more recently a site of property redevelopment and gentrifi-
cation as a result of changes in public housing that removed thousands of now
dilapidated units and their residents (Patillo 2007: 4).

Due to constant in and out migrations, as well as the flow of those who commute
for work and services, NKO area residents described strong connections with many
other parts of the city, particularly African-American areas on the South and West
Sides. This, in addition to the Bronzeville area’s historic significance as a national
center for African-American culture, results in residents identifying with a broader
conception of African-American heritage than a purely location-based one. As an

A case study of diverse Chicago neighborhoods 273

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outgrowth of this many NKO residents support broad notions of racial uplift, but the
specific shape of that identity and uplift varies by class and social aspirations. Many
NKO residents are also personally committed to projects that improve the appearance
and perception of their community, in response to the legacy of concentrated poverty
brought on by public housing developments. Campaigns for well-managed affordable
housing, resident-led efforts to keep area parks safe by involving youth in structured
activities, and neighborhood councils that monitor the quality of new developments,
renovations, and general property maintenance are all examples of the types of
concerns that have mobilized community action in NKO.

Environmental issues have only recently begun to be talked about and addressed in
NKO, partly in response to promises of green jobs and cost savings via energy effi-
ciency spread through the wider media and Chicago’s organizational networks. In
addition, though, a small minority of community leaders are passionate about climate
change-related issues, such as peak oil, and are actively trying to spread awareness and
mobilize action, in part by framing these issues as strategies for tackling other com-
munity challenges. For example, the Bronzeville Alliance holds monthly movie
nights featuring sustainability-themed movies and is creating community gardens to
address a number of issues including access to affordable healthy food, job training,
and beautification.

Like South Chicago, NKO also has a strong culture of self-sufficiency, but it is
embedded in their close relationship with city government and with nearby research
institutions like the University of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Our research suggests community leaders warily adapt pragmatic engagement strate-
gies: staying aware of various policy initiatives and research projects to try to harness
them to their local goals. This is complicated by internal differences among com-
munity organizations, which often prevents them from forming a unified front. One
of the most significant points of difference exists between those groups who work to
increase property values and others who focus on developing residential capacities to
improve life for the entire community without displacing its lower-income members.

Both the South Chicago and NKO communities have a mix of agencies with
outside connections, local community organizations, small businesses, and activist
residents who operate as primary advocates for various community concerns. But
while the South Chicago community’s history of rapid industrialization and dein-
dustrialization has given rise to a vibrant set of grassroots organizations and local social
networks, NKO with its changing population patterns and long history of direct
government intervention is primarily led by organizational brokers: groups that act as
bridges between the community and powerful institutions. Our research in the two
communities suggests it is key to have both types of community assets working in
concert—grassroots organizations and cultural brokers—to implement and drive successful
initiatives to mobilize residents around climate issues.

Understanding the histories and social contexts of these two communities, as pre-
sented in this section, provides a basis for thinking in a more nuanced and embedded
way about their environmental engagement and how to increase this engagement by
linking it to other community concerns—as discussed in the next two sections.

274 Anthropologists and the real world

Environmental Anthropology Today, edited by Helen Kopnina, and Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Taylor & Francis Group, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/latrobe/detail.action?docID=957669.
Created from latrobe on 2021-03-23 11:18:33.

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Perspectives On the Environment and Climate Change

In both South Chicago and NKO, awareness of climate change figures into com-
munity life, but to differing degrees and in different ways. For example, in South
Chicago and on the Southeast Side there is significant interest in the concepts of
climate change, global warming, and ‘going green’ that relates to the area’s long
interconnected history with the natural environment. This recognition is directly tied
to historical memory of the impact of mills on local air and water quality, as well as
current struggles with open space, landfills impacting the region, and coal piles
releasing pollutants into the area. In contrast, for residents of NKO, climate change
tends to be a more abstract and distant concern that is not recognized as an
immediate threat to the environment in the Chicago region.

Despite differences about the immediacy of climate change impacts, residents of
South Chicago and NKO both recognize that climate change is an important con-
cern. One area where this was particularly evident was in discussions of the weather.
In South Chicago, we documented numerous examples of residents expressing con-
cern over recent changes in weather patterns. For example, a local owner of a body
shop described small talk he engaged in with clients about winters being milder and
having less snow than in the past, while participants in a neighborhood focus group
observed how bird migrations have changed and geese now remain in the area all year.
In NKO, local awareness of changing weather patterns emerged through interviews in
which participants were asked to answer the question: ‘What three words come to mind
when you hear ‘climate change’?’ Responses such as ‘extremely hot,’ ‘extremely cold,’
or some variation (see word cloud in Figure 13.3) reflected recognition that weather
and climate is now or will be more variable or unpredictable; in addition, participants
tied these statements to observations about recent changes in local seasons, noting
warmer winters and cooler summers. Other observations in NKO highlighted chan-
ges in local growing seasons and the mix of local flora and fauna, thus demonstrating
awareness that climate change is not just a global, but also a local phenomenon.

Not only do residents in both communities recognize that changes in climate are
taking place, but they attribute these changes to anthropogenic causes (although
speculation varies widely on the technical nature of these causes). For example,
respondents in both South Chicago and NKO reported a conviction that the space
shuttle going up into space pokes holes in the atmosphere that lead to changes in
weather, with an NKO resident stating, ‘We have emissions going out and the sun
coming in.’ In another example from South Chicago, an immigrant from Mexico
City regretted that human pollution of the ocean is resulting in the dramatic hurricane
and tsunami events she sees reported on the news.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that both communities recognize the impact of
human behavior on their environment, differences emerged in views concerning
individual responsibility for altering behavior to mitigate climate change. Specifically,
residents in South Chicago tended to have a sense of personal responsibility vis-à-vis
the environment, while …

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