The Border-Development-Climate Change Nexus: Precarious Campesinos at the Selva Maya Mexico–Guatemala Border
Borderlands can be places of socio-economic tensions, development challenges, and ecological risks, now exacerbated by climate change. We investigate the border-development-climate change nexus using research from Calakmul, Mexico and Petén, Guatemala, to detail the lived experiences and vulnerabilities of campesinos in the Selva Maya cross-border region. Our mixed methods approach combines historical analysis and ethnographic interviews with 70 campesinos. We demonstrate how large scale development approaches result in local and specific policy interventions, but produce mixed outcomes for campesinos, neglecting the most marginalized. Despite the absence of any major border crossings, a porous border in this area allows flows of people, goods, and services to connect the region, but there are differential national outcomes. In Petén, many campesinos suffer from ‘irregularity’ (lacking rights to the lands where they live and cultivate), preventing access to state development benefits. In Calakmul greater climate change demands adaptations beyond the scope of recent policy interventions. We consider how the border region includes biophysical processes as well as socio-political and cultural ones, and we argue that policy interventions are required at global, national, and local scales to address structural inequalities and co-create local solutions to development, migration, and climate change challenges.
Copyright (c) 2022 Birgit Schmook, Sofía Mardero, Sophie Calmé, Rehema White, Claudia Radel, Lindsey Carte, Grecia Cassanova, Jorge David Castelar Cayetano, Juan Carlos Joo Chang
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