Climate Change is About…Resilience and Alternatives

Climate change is about the way that we respond to the crisis and its multiple impacts. The Andean region – in part thanks to the influence of community practices embedded in its culture – is fertile land for exploring climate resilience and the lessons it can offer. Our projects in this area look to provide snapshots of local experiences and responses which contribute to the global process of developing more sustainable alternatives.

1. Climate change is about…building community resilience

Abundance for Everybody

Learn about how the concept of community has become embedded in the Casa de los Ningunos, and how the principles represented by their ideas of "community" support their vision for radical social change.

Discover how a group of young, urban activists are working day by day to build genuine alternatives in the centre of Bolivia’s hectic capital, La Paz. The Casa de los Ningunos is an experimental community project that aims to challenge the systemic causes of the climate crisis from the roots up. Through group and personal interviews with residents of the house, we have developed a set of materials that explore three main pillars of the project: food, community and economy.

Visit the microsite: ‘Abundance for Everybody’

Visitar el micrositio: ‘Abundancia para Todos’ (en español)

Climate Change is About…Women

04In 2014 two Democracy Center colleagues, Leny Olivera and Carey Averbook, worked together over several months to produce the project ‘Climate Change is About…Women’, documenting the realities of four residents of ‘Maria Auxiliadora’. This women-led community on the edge of Cochabamba was set up as a response to the violence women experience in their lives, especially in peri-urban environments. The photographs illustrate many facets of the women’s lives and can be seen alongside excerpts from candid interviews conducted during the project and other writings.

Read the introduction and watch the videoLeer la introducción

Visit the microsite: “Climate Change is About…Women”

Visite el micrositio: “Cambio Climático es…hablar de Mujeres” (en español)

Video: Seeds of Resilience

Filmstrip graphic - Seeds of ResilienceIn the rural highlands of Bolivia, climate change is already having tangible impacts on people’s daily lives. The ability to read and adjust to natural patterns is key to livelihoods based in agriculture, and unpredictable weather events and rising temperatures are forcing communities to reevaluate their relationship with the land and what it can provide.

Following a Democracy Center research trip to Norte Potosí, Bolivia, this short documentary Seeds of Resilience tells the first in a series of stories about Bolivian climate resilience strategies.

Read more and watch the video

Read the article by project author Sian Cowman: How seed diversity strengthens climate resilience in one Andean community

“Semillas de Vida” – versión en español

Shock Absorbers: Learning from Lanqaya

IMG_2038In the Andes, rural indigenous communities have been experiencing climate change impacts for many years. This article, written after time spent in the community of Lanqaya in Norte Potosí, focuses on the very distinctive aspects of Bolivian community organization that strengthen resilience to climate change: long-established decision-making structures allow difficult decisions to be made collectively, such as moving the entire community to higher ground due to warming temperatures, and local management of natural resources.

Download the resource Shock absorbers: How resilience strategies old and new help one Andean community survive in a changing climate


2. Climate change is about…shifting paradigms

Women, Violence and Climate Change

review_10Climate Change is About…Women project authors Leny Olivera and Carey Averbook write about what they learned from their time spent exploring resilience with the women of María Auxiliadora. This article also appeared on

Articles and Blogs on Resilience and Alternatives

Women in Resistance and Resilience

May 2015: Leny Olivera on Upside Down World on the many types of resistance and resilience that women in Bolivia and elsewhere are demonstrating against the many types of violence and discroimination they are subjected to, including in the context of climate change.

Women, Violence and Climate Change

May 2015: Climate Change is About…Women project authors Leny Olivera and Carey Averbook writing on (and our blog) about what they learned from their time spent exploring resilience with the women of María Auxiliadora.

Bolivian Women Fight Back Against Climate of Violence

Dec 2014. Leny Olivera writing for New Internationalist on the occasion of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, about the women of the María Auxiliadora community and their efforts to confront multiple forms of violence in their lives.

Bolivia: Harshening Climate meets Traditional Knowledge

Dec 2013. Sian Cowman in The Ecologist, writing about her visit to a rural community in the Norte Potosí region of Bolivia, and what community practices there demonstrate about climate vulnerablity – and resilience.



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