International Synergies to Address Climate Change: Participatory Community Organizing in Toronto and the Baixada Fluminense, Brazil

By Ana Louise Tavares Leary and Patricia E. Perkins.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Climate change impacts mainly the vulnerable, in both the global North and the South. Framing climate change as an equity issue, this paper focuses on North-South commonalities in climate change organizing and community-based resilience development. Due to the authors’ experiences with several justice-oriented international climate change adaptation and water governance projects, our focus is on water-related climate change impacts and responses in marginalized neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada and in the Baixada Fluminense region near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The paper includes an overview of equity issues related to recent extreme weather events in each area, government programs and policy responses, and grassroots progress with the local community organizing to address the resulting challenges. The final section of the paper reports on synergies, which have emerged through our international climate justice collaboration, and discusses common themes that we have noted in Canada and Brazil. Important themes include the crafting of creative organizing strategies and techniques, the creation of green jobs, the use of recreation spaces as flood buffers, the development of social resilience and political skills through community-building, the education of local officials about climate change, and the mobilization of financing for infrastructure renovation/improvements.

Keywords: Climate Change, Water Governance, Equity, Social Resilience, Marginalized Communities, Policy, Green Jobs, Climate Justice, Adaptation

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.23-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 789.767KB).

Ana Louise Tavares Leary

Masters Student, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ana Louise Tavares Leary is a graduate student at York University, Toronto, in the Master in Environmental Studies program. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University in political science and international development studies. At York, Ana is a graduate assistant at the Climate Consortium for Research Action and Integration. Currently, Ana is an intern at Instituto Ecoar para a Cidadania in São Paulo, Brazil.

Prof. Patricia E. Perkins

Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Patricia E. (Ellie) Perkins is an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, where she teaches and advises students in the areas of ecological economics, interdisciplinary research design, and community development. Her research focuses on feminist ecological economics, local economies, climate justice, and watershed governance. She currently directs a “Climate Change Adaptation in Africa” project funded through the International Development Research Centre.


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