The detrimental effects of global climate change are already being felt, with the greatest impacts affecting the world’s poor. Countries and communities across the developing world are experiencing the effects of climate change-intensified droughts, flooding, crop losses, disruption of water supplies, and the spread of diseases. Conventional approaches to economic development are poorly suited to address this new reality. Innovative strategies that foster climate resilience—the capacity to withstand the stresses of climate disruption and still retain the ability to develop—are required.
Heavily dependent on subsistence farming, rural communities in the Central American dry corridor are already experiencing drought, food insecurity, diminished quality and access to drinking water, health issues, and deteriorating local economies. Climatic stress exacerbates broader challenges throughout the region—including the slow recovery from decades of war, persistent violence, migration, poverty, political instability in several countries, and other widespread social issues.
Climate and social scientists agree that pathways to climate resilience must be created locally to address the problems caused by climate disruption. Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University (SCU) believes that social entrepreneurship and innovation practices can strengthen the ability of local institutions to promote climate resilience. Social enterprises enhance the operational capacity, efficiency, and long-term social and economic sustainability of local institutions—and this can foster the adaptive capacity essential to climate resilience. Thus, investing in social entrepreneurship and building stronger local institutions has emerged as a key climate resilience strategy.
Miller Center and SCU faculty are studying and, with local institutions, collaboratively creating pathways to climate resilience in Central America’s dry corridor. Lessons from these efforts hold promise for other at-risk regions responding to climate disruption.