University of Colorado at Boulder

Drought-squeezed African Maasai suggest climate-change strategies

August 06, 2013.    Category: Research

Mara Goldman
Faculty

The devastating drought of 2009 in northern Tanzania generated new coping strategies by Maasai people, suggesting that Maasai with more money and social connections are better able than their poorer, less-connected neighbors to endure extreme events such as drought and, potentially, climate change, a team of University of Colorado Boulder researchers has found.

While the findings have implications for climate-change adaptation, they also highlight the institutional barriers that pastoral cultures such as the Maasai now face—especially the increased fragmentation of landscapes.

And that fragmented landscape could foster greater inequality that could threaten pastoralism, which is the most sustainable lifestyle in the semi arid areas in East Africa, the researchers add.

It’s widely predicted that climate change will most acutely affect poorer countries, and the poorest people in those poor countries will bear the greatest burden, said Mara J. Goldman, the study’s first author.

Read entire article in Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine