Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism

Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Henriette Lowisch

Commitee Members

Jeremy Lurgio, Nicky Phear


Vietnam, climate change, Mekong Delta, environment, ethics, sea level rise


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Asian Studies | Emergency and Disaster Management | Environmental Education | Environmental Policy | International Relations | Natural Resources and Conservation | Nonfiction | Other Environmental Sciences | Sustainability


In the rapidly developing Mekong Delta of Vietnam, young innovators are facing a challenge far greater than simply trying to catch up with the wealthier world. In a growing trend, the next generation of Vietnamese is acting under a common understanding: climate change is real, it’s here and the time to respond is growing short.

For over a decade, Southern Vietnam has consistently been ranked by international organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as one of the most vulnerable places in the world to the impacts of climate change. That vulnerability is heightened by the fact that the country is still developing economically and is deeply committed to following the industrial path of wealthy nations—the same path that led to climate change in the first place.

Unlike in the United States, the powers that govern Vietnam have acknowledged the problem and, at least in theory, expressed the political will to support efforts to adapt. Given the urgency of the situation, global entities like 350, Live & Learn and the Union of Concerned Scientists have started paying close attention to the response in Vietnam.

But even with outside financial support, local activists face an uphill battle in their quest to adapt to climate change. Recognizing the problem is perhaps the easiest step. Designing solutions is harder, but still doable. It’s implementing them, and in time, where the odds become nearly insurmountable—and expensive.



© Copyright 2016 Shanti R. Johnson