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Wednesday, April 26 • 3:05pm - 3:25pm
Following The Rain: Analyzing The Changing Nature Of Drought Among The Turkana

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The Turkana of northwestern Kenya are a community of nomadic pastoralists. They raise livestock, mainly cattle, but also camels and various types of smaller stock such as goats and sheep, as a means to support themselves in the arid environment they inhabit. The natural dryness, and irregular levels of annual precipitation of the region makes it especially susceptible to drought which can be disastrous for the Turkana's cattle, and thus people’s survival. In addition, there is also evidence that with the rise of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the global climate is undergoing significant changes beyond natural variability. These have specific effects on dry regions including increased surface and ocean temperatures, decreased levels of precipitation in already parched territories, and the rise in intense climatic events. This structured review assembles ethnographic studies of Turkana culture and identity gathered from texts written during the periods of British colonialism, Kenyan independence, and the 21st century, combined with climate data obtained from 1980 to 2016, and recent climate scholarship to determine the relationship between the effects of global climate change, in particular drought, on the lifestyle and culture of the Turkana people. The paper shows how the occurrence of drought is evolving in the region due to climate change, and the effects of this change on the Turkana customs of livestock raising and nomadic migration.


Wednesday April 26, 2017 3:05pm - 3:25pm PDT
236 Zageir Hall