Guillermo Germán Joosten is a PhD student at Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina). From April to June 2022, he is visiting the IRI THESys as one of the recipients of the 2021 Green Talents Award, hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The overarching theme of his doctoral research is the environmental anthropology of the middle Pilcomayo basin. The Pilcomayo River begins its course as a mountain river in the Andes and, once it enters the Gran Chaco, it becomes a “river without a course”, since its huge sedimentary load, seasonal flow, and plain basin make it periodically overflow, changing its dynamics. Rural communities established around Bañado La Estrella (vast wetlands in the southern Pilcomayo basin) are systematically affected by these changes, as well as by floods, droughts, and the actions of big economic interests for international commodities, including deforestation and the degradation of the river’s waters.
Germàn’s thesis is then structured in three parts: the past, present, and future of the human-environment entanglements on this area. After analyzing historical aspects and describing and comparing current environmental issues, the third part deals with local climate change through a bottom-up approach. Germàn has already recognized the main impacts of climate change from the communities’ perspective (increased weather variability and uncertainty, more frequent extreme drought and rainfall events, and prolonged heatwaves) and their local responses to it. During his research stay at IRI THESys, he will analyse the empirical evidence and generate outputs related to the third part of his thesis, which deals with the social dimensions of climate change in the Pilcomayo Basin.
- Environmental anthropology
- Climate change adaptation