Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

From the semi-arid cities and ranches of western Montana to the tropical villages and rice farms of southern Vietnam, the threat of climate change is imminent. Temperatures are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, and the resulting effects on the world's river systems are both drastic and unprecedented. Rivers are the arteries of the nations, sending water, the most basic building block for life, flowing across continents and providing for nature and society alike. Food, habitat, recreation, transportation, economics, and more all stem from the liquid resource rivers supply. Every environment has evolved around the ebb and flow of water resources and entire civilizations have been constructed in sync with the pulse of a river.

Here in Missoula, we know all too well the role a river plays in a city's culture and a mountain's calm. As the Clark Fork River winds through our valley and enters the greater Columbia River Basin, it fills the pockets, bellies, and weekends of many. Climate change, however, poses a threat to both the human and ecological components of rivers worldwide, including the Clark Fork. To better understand the dangers of climate change and its impacts on river systems, our paper uses the Columbia River Basin in the U.S. and Canada and the Mekong River Basin in Indochina as case studies. Both are large, transboundary rivers with mountainous headwaters and a complex cultural, ecological, and economic interconnectedness. In our attempt to discover the influence of a changing climate on the policy, livelihoods, and environments in transboundary river basins, we will conduct interviews in each region and analyze answers to determine commonalities. Findings will be made accessible via an online story map.

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Interdisciplinary (GLI)

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Apr 28th, 1:40 PM Apr 28th, 2:00 PM

Climate Change: Our Adaptive Future in the Columbia and Mekong River Basins

UC North Ballroom

From the semi-arid cities and ranches of western Montana to the tropical villages and rice farms of southern Vietnam, the threat of climate change is imminent. Temperatures are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, and the resulting effects on the world's river systems are both drastic and unprecedented. Rivers are the arteries of the nations, sending water, the most basic building block for life, flowing across continents and providing for nature and society alike. Food, habitat, recreation, transportation, economics, and more all stem from the liquid resource rivers supply. Every environment has evolved around the ebb and flow of water resources and entire civilizations have been constructed in sync with the pulse of a river.

Here in Missoula, we know all too well the role a river plays in a city's culture and a mountain's calm. As the Clark Fork River winds through our valley and enters the greater Columbia River Basin, it fills the pockets, bellies, and weekends of many. Climate change, however, poses a threat to both the human and ecological components of rivers worldwide, including the Clark Fork. To better understand the dangers of climate change and its impacts on river systems, our paper uses the Columbia River Basin in the U.S. and Canada and the Mekong River Basin in Indochina as case studies. Both are large, transboundary rivers with mountainous headwaters and a complex cultural, ecological, and economic interconnectedness. In our attempt to discover the influence of a changing climate on the policy, livelihoods, and environments in transboundary river basins, we will conduct interviews in each region and analyze answers to determine commonalities. Findings will be made accessible via an online story map.