Bridging Knowledge Systems in the Peruvian Andes: Plurality, Co-Creation, and Transformative Socio-Ecological Solutions to Climate Change
MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability
Dr. Alex Alvarez
In the current era of anthropogenic climate change, Quechua farmers in the Peruvian Andes are some of the most impacted by, yet some of the lowest contributors to global warming. Dominant Western systems alone have proven insufficient in tackling the climate crisis, and there have been increasing efforts to elevate and center Indigenous voices and epistemologies when addressing climate change. Researchers and communities are calling for a bridging of knowledge systems, in which Indigenous and Western methods collaborate to co-create innovative solutions to climate challenges. This research sought to explore methods and successes in bridging Indigenous and Western knowledge systems in Parque de la Papa (Parque) in the Peruvian Andes through five main inquiries: (1) What are ideal, strong methods for knowledge co-creation? (2) What are the current methods being employed in the Parque and what are their benefits and challenges? (3) Who are the bridge actors in this process, and what actions do they take to effectuate change via knowledge co-production? (4) What does it mean to truly co-produce knowledge? (5) Is knowledge co-creation actually possible and effective in the face of climate change? To answer these questions, I utilized a mixed-method approach, employing both Western and decolonial tactics, including: wit(h)nessing; semi-structured, open ended interviews; auto-ethnography; and co-created reflection sessions. The findings indicate that best methods for knowledge co-creation engage respect, vulnerability and trust, emphasize embodied knowledge exchange, pay attention to logistics, navigate complexities that arise from language differences, utilize tools and visuals, and validate multiple literacies/engage various ways of learning. Many of these methods are already being impactfully employed in the Parque. Findings also suggest that bridge actors are key in facilitating knowledge exchange, and they effectuate change through engaging and then teaching/sharing what they have learned with others. Successful knowledge co-creation holds different meaning for different actors, but ultimately centers non-dominant systems and complements them with Western knowledges, creates concrete, tangible outcomes and innovations, produces personal changes for individuals involved, and ripples out beyond co-creative processes. This paper concludes that knowledge bridging is indeed effective and important when addressing and finding solutions to issues related to climate change in the Peruvian Andes and globally.
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Community-Based Research | Educational Sociology | Human Ecology | Indigenous Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Nature and Society Relations | Place and Environment | Social Justice
Ciavattone, Domenique, "Bridging Knowledge Systems in the Peruvian Andes: Plurality, Co-Creation, and Transformative Socio-Ecological Solutions to Climate Change" (2023). Capstone Collection. 3277.
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education Commons, Community-Based Research Commons, Educational Sociology Commons, Human Ecology Commons, Indigenous Studies Commons, Latin American Languages and Societies Commons, Latin American Studies Commons, Nature and Society Relations Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Social Justice Commons