Making space for the Cauca river in Colombia: Inequalities and environmental citizenship
Capítulo - Parte de Libro
Programa Editorial Cambridge University
This chapter analyzes how different meanings about wetlands clash in a flood control project that was initiated on the Cauca River in Colombia in response to a flood that affected 19 thousand families in 2010-2011. The conflict in this region is mainly between two types of wetland users: traditional Afro-Colombian farmers and industrial sugar cane growers. This conflict was translated into competing narratives about how to cope with the flooding that is correlated to discourses: the dominant modernist large scale engineering framing that privileges dams, levees and dikes to tame the river for agricultural production, and 2) ecological engineering-like perspectives that privilege biological corridors, flooded areas, and wetland restoration projects that focus on adapting to, and living with, the river. Dominant narratives about river and wetland meanings and management served the purpose of maintaining the status quo in the region while obscuring small traditional farmers’ uses and meanings around wetlands, as well as suppressing alternative solutions to cope with flooding events that benefit ecological and community interests.
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