I investigate how climate related uncertainty shapes traditional systems of weather prediction among coastal communities. My work is grounded in the conviction that local environmental cues can produce, at a finer scale, more reliable and cost-effective forecasts than complex simulation models (GCMs). I believe that indigenous perceptions and experiential knowledge are crucial to improving the problem-solving skills of climate change scientists and policy-makers. Including observations and practices through the span of centuries, these perspectives can enrich the understanding of the shifts in variability and aid in the development of early warning systems.
Over the last 5 years, I have completed coursework in human-environmental interactions, climate change, cultural and historical ecology and mixed methods. I have carried out ethnographic and environmental research in Argentina, Bolivia, Indonesia and US. In 2010, as a fellow of the OHH/NOAA training consortium, I had the opportunity to interact with scientists, government representatives, and policy-makers from EPA, WHO and IPCC. Afterwards, I joined NOAA as an intern for the Northwest Pacific Fisheries Center where I developed socioecological indicators to measure coastal communities’ resilience. These experiences have directly impacted how I think about my future role as a social scientist. Bridging academic research with an applied perspective, I see my work as facilitating creative and equitable forms of collaboration among communities, scholars, and institutions.
Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia. With the support of NSF, I am conducting research on cultural and ecological perceptions and on the environmental history of Ende. Unpacking local beliefs on weather prediction has proven challenging. New patterns of variability (more frequent ENSOs) are affecting the use of climatic information like seasonal calendars and introducing new forecasting cues. In September 2012, I will return to Flores to study this process. Participating in GESA will allow me to acquire skills in documenting local ecological knowledge. It will help me gain a better understanding of the information I have already collected and the way to transition from data to risk-reduction policies and knowledge transfer.
My challenge as an anthropologist is to build a sustainable future for communities and environments alike. I believe that effective adaptation strategies require innovation along with a more humanistic approach to the understanding of change. Working across academic and institutional boundaries, I am committed to be a part of this effort.
In the long term, I hope to return to Argentina to develop and teach an academic curriculum in socio-environmental studies at the Universidad de Misiones. I also plan to work towards the creation of a multidisciplinary center (like UCAR) where conservation practitioners, local groups, and scholars can train in community-based approaches to deliver more inclusive solutions.