Unrestricted Improvements in Fishing Technology Threaten the Future of Seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.

¿Son los Pirineos una barrera real para el transporte atmosférico de polen?

Los resultados del estudio llevado a cabo por Jordina Belmonte y Concepción de Linares, investigadoras expertas en botánica de la UAB, constatan que el polen de abedul, una de las especies principales de plantas que causan alergia en Europa Central y del Norte.

Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric CO2 concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a study conducted by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

 ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change.

Map Commemorating Women’s Resistance to Extractivism and Defense of Life and Territory in Latin America

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life.

Es preveuen alts nivells de pol·len per a aquesta primavera

Investigadors de la Xarxa Aerobiològica de Catalunya de l’ICTA-UAB han presentat avui les previsions dels nivells de pol·len i espores a l’atmosfera a Catalunya per a la primavera i l’estiu.

The Azores Islands were inhabited a century and a half before the Portuguese colonization, according to the fossil pollen found in a...

• Research involving the ICTA-UAB finds pollen of rye and other cereals in the sediments of Lago Azul and redefines the timing of human occupation of the Portuguese archipelago.

European Project to Analyse the Effects of Waste Generated by Tourism on Mediterranean Islands

An European study involving the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma e Barcelona will address and propose solutions to the effects of the increase of waste generated by tourism on Mediterranean islands during the summer season.

El ICTA-UAB volverá Locos por la Naturaleza a 27 estudiantes de bachillerato

Un total de 27 estudiantes de bachillerato participan en la tercera edición del programa Locos por la Naturaleza que ofrece el Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) con la voluntad de promover el talento científico entre los jóvenes potenciando el conocimiento del medio natural y poniéndolos en contacto con los principales investigadores en la materia.

More Urban Green Needed in Barcelona to Have Positive Effects on Environmental Quality and Wellness

A PhD dissertation by Francesc Baró, from ICTA-UAB, quantifies and maps the benefits of urban and periurban green in Barcelona such as the improvement of air quality, climate change mitigation and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.

Social Relations, Success in Hunting and Good Health, Sources of Happiness for Indigenous People

Rural and indigenous people from the Global South push absolute income into the background as source of wellbeing.

Treatment plants reduce contamination of heavy metals around Barcelona's coastline

The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, shows that contamination of heavy metals experienced a very important growth between the 1930s and 1980s, while a drastic descent in levels occurred in the 1990s.

Increase in motorcycles converts Barcelona into the European city with the highest number of motorbikes per inhabitant

A study by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Geography assesses the rise of motorcycles compared with the drop in cars in Barcelona in the past ten years.

More than One-Third of the Population Would Stop Economic Growth to Achieve Sustainability

A study by researchers of the Institut of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) assesses Spanish public opinion on economic growth, the environment and prosperity.

ICTA-UAB and ISGlobal Researchers Denounce Lack of Studies on the Harmful Health Effects of Oil Spills

A project led by ICTA-UAB, ISGlobal and the UAB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Peruvian Amazon analyses the health effects of oil spills among people living close to oil extraction areas in developing countries.

Humans have caused climate change for 180 years

An international research project involving ICTA-UAB researcher P. Graham Mortyn has found human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th century phenomenon.

Do Greener Cities Become More Unjust?

A new research project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Isabelle Anguelovski and funded by the European Union will assess the “green gentrification” process by which the creation of green urban amenities tends to attract the higher social classes and excludes the most vulnerable groups.

The ICTA-UAB Will Assess, in Collaboration with EU Staff, the Effectiveness of EU Sustainability Policies

The EU Project MAGIC (H2020) coordinated by the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has the goal to study and develop new strategies for a better use of science for governance.

ICTA-UAB receives María de Maeztu Excellence Award

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology has received the award as a "María de Maeztu" Unit of Excellence 2015 from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).
Empowerment of women will improve our ability to cope with global change

Date: 2016-11-29



  • Ending perceptions of women and other disadvantaged groups simply as victims and instead empowering them as decision-makers in natural resource management are basic steps to deal with ecological crises more effectively.
  • A new collection of studies addresses global environmental change from a feminist and interdisciplinary perspective.

The scientific journal Ambio has just published a special issue which is the first collection of studies relating gender issues and climate and environmental change. The research analyzes how the consequences of these changes and potential responses can be different for people depending on their gender, demonstrating that it is necessary to address power relations, and to have the same opportunities and rights within communities. “In order for human societies to be able to better adapt to global environmental change, it is important to tackle these differences and empower women and other disadvantaged groups in their communities,” says Federica Ravera, researcher at CREAF and the Institute of Mediterranean Agronomic and Environmental Sciences (ICAAM) in Portugal, and lead coordinator of the special issue.

The authors of the publication also highlight that the ability to recover, adapt, or innovate in response to environmental changes is distinct for different social groups; it is important to consider the interaction of gender with other types of discrimination including that based on age, social or economic position, ethnicity, education, sexuality, or (dis)abilities. “This way, we can detect and understand the cases of highly-disadvantaged people and communities and transform our perspective of them, from victims to agents of change. Also, when these factors are considered together, current policies which often suffer from being overly general and simple can be reevaluated and new ones can be developed to be more effective and inclusive,” says Ravera.

A collection of nine international case studies of different societies and ecosystems

The publication was co-coordinated by CREAF, the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) in the Basque Country, and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, in Germany.

It includes two synthesis editorials, two theoretical articles, and nine case studies. The case studies consider different societies and ecosystems: from ranchers in the United States to the indigenous Sami and their reindeer management in Sweden; pastoral and agricultural communities in Africa; the use and knowledge of medicinal plants in indigenous communities of the Amazon; a study of crop diversity agricultural varieties in India; fishermen in the Salomon Islands.

In the nine case studies, vulnerability to some type of environmental change was evaluated, as well as the ability to recover or adapt, all depending on the context. The work shows the capacity for responding to these environmental changes is increased when greater equality is achieved in the division of labor and roles of individuals within each community, responsibility in decision-making, power relations in management of natural resources, and access to resources and knowledge.

The case studies bring us on a voyage through North America, Sweden, Africa, Asia, and the Solomon Islands

There are communities such as the indigenous Sami who maintain herds of reindeer in Sweden or ranchers in the southern United States where women play an invisible but fundamental role. In addition, to being responsible for some tasks of managing the animals, both studies highlight that these women are responsible for transmitting information within the group and between generations, something which is crucial for their survival. In these communities generating  more  opportunities  for  Sami men  to  achieve  higher  education and employment options and encouraging Sami women to participate in the formation  and  implementation  of  legislation, policies  and plans would enhance their adaptive capacity.

Another study carried out in communities of the Ethiopian highlands highlighted the fact that women there typically have less access to local institutions and decision-making in the communities– something which can impact responses to environmental crises. In these groups, management of communal pastureland is restricted for women, and during droughts they are mainly managed for livestock to be sold. Women, on the other hand, apply long-term strategies and prioritize feeding of milk cows and sheeps in order to have food for children and calves.

The publication also includes a study led by the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) which demonstrated that women of the Tsimane Amazonian society have the widest knowledge about wild plants useful for treating illnesses. However, it was also found that each gender is accustomed to choosing different plants for treating the same illness, which suggests that if this knowledge were combined the Tsimane would be much more capable of recovering from or adapting to changes in Amazonia.

Gender is not the only explanation for inequality and responses to changes

The study led by Federica Ravera in India provides one of the key messages of the special issue. There, the researchers saw that factors other than gender, including caste, education, social class and access to land are crucial for mitigating and adapting to environmental change. In communities of the Himalayans, only women with the greatest access to land and best education are capable of conserving agricultural diversity and responding to environmental changes. These abilities are reinforced when the women maintain control in decision-making and agricultural activities, uniting their labor collectively and maintaining social exchange networks. Likewise, in the plains of the Ganges, only the women of the highest castes have access to agro-ecological innovation, while most others are relegated to grunt work in the fields, replacing the labor of emigrated men.

A new interdisciplinary, feminist approach to socio-ecological research

“This is the first time that a group of studies has applied a feminist approach to the study of global environmental change,” says Ravera. This work required opening the scope of research to multiple disciplines, methods, and techniques of both the natural and social sciences. The whole process included the participation ecologists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and political scientists – the majority of them women.

“The willingness to work in this manner, as well as its apparent necessity, shows that there has been a paradigm change in contemporary socio-ecological research. Historically, the effects of environmental changes and ecological crises in forests, crops, or fisheries have been approached from only one of these dimensions. Now, in order to improve adaptive capacities and ecosystem recovery, we need to include the associated social dynamics,” says Federica Ravera.

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