The Shuwa Arabs

        Initially, it may seem an intuitive reflex to assume that poor, or less developed groups are more vulnerable to climate change.  This site maintains that, while this may be true in some instances, it is far from a universal truth.  This site also suggests that such a generalization is irresponsible and hazardous.

        Human groups have historically had to autonomously adapt to their ever-changing environments.  Anthropogenic climate change may prove a similar exercise for many peoples.  The Shuwa Arabs illustrate this point well:

During the past five hundred years of their settlement in the         Chad Basin, the Shuwa Arabs have lost most of their ethnic traits, except their language. Of greater importance for this presentation is the fact that they have displayed a remarkable adjustment to the natural environment which was more humid when the Shuwa arrived as nomadic herdsmen over 500 years ago. Since the climate was not suitable for breeding camels which formed the basis Shuwa Arab existence as desert nomads, they were obliged to adopt cattle rearing. An combination of recurring drought and cattle diseases later resulted in the decimation of the cattle population. Thereafter the Shuwa adjusted further and settled down as hoe    cultivators; and have since become well known for practising a rudimentary form of mixed farming. (Reuben 1993)


        Their story is pertinent: Lake Chad is disappearing at an alarming rate, and climate change (among other human activities) is a contributor to this issue.  As this excerpt suggests, the behavior of the Shuwa Arabs around the Lake Chad Basin has been fluid, and changed alongside the climate of the region.  They were not doomed to extinction because their culture was incompatible with their environment.  Here is a clear example of ‘poor’ people adapting to climate change. 







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