|Publicado en||Environmental Science & Policy, v. 66:324-333|
Eakin, H., Lerner, A.M., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Hernández Aguilar, B., Martínez-Canedo, A., Tellman, B., Charli-Joseph, L., Fernández Álvarez, R. and Bojórquez-Tapia, L.
|Año de publicación||2016|
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University (ASU), P.O. Box 875502, Tempe, AZ 85287-5502, USA, Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias de Sostenibilidad (LANCIS), Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), P.O. Box 70-275 Ciudad Universitaria UNAM, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
•This paper focuses on the burden of adaptation among economically marginalized households in Mexico City and the reinforcement of poverty through chronic exposure to flooding and water scarcity.
•We find that the adaptation actions of households to deal with water scarcity, low quality, and flooding entail high financial and opportunity costs which contribute to cycles of poverty for households in already marginal areas.
•The analysis indicates that there is a need for greater attention to these tradeoffs in public policy to help ensure that adaptation does not come at the cost of more generic welfare gains, such as health and education, among the most vulnerable populations.
Adaptation is typically conceived uniquely in positive terms, however for some populations, investments in risk management can entail significant tradeoffs. Here we discuss the burden for households of coping with, and adapting to, adverse water conditions in economically marginal areas of Mexico City. We argue that households&rsquo efforts to adapt in conditions of marginality can come at the expense of households&rsquo investment in other aspects of human welfare, reinforcing poverty traps. Both economic theory and social-ecological systems analysis point to the importance of cross-scalar investments and institutional support in breaking down persistent poverty traps. Using data from twelve focus groups conducted in Mexico City, we illustrate how such cross-scale connectivity is failing as a result of lack of trust and transparency, the difficulty of collective action, and the devolution of some responsibilities for risk management from the public sector to the household level. We conclude our analysis by arguing for greater attention to these tradeoffs in public policy to help ensure that adaptation does not come at the cost of more generic welfare gains among the most vulnerable populations.