Cristina Alonso’s Fieldwork Diary: Preliminary Stage

images (12)Cahuita, Costa Rica

This blog is, at the moment, under construction. It wants to document the climate migration, from threatened islands of Kuna Yala to mainland Panama, already taking place in several Kuna communities of the San Blas Archipelago. Fieldwork is expected to begin in the following months, as soon as funding is available.

Being a social researcher working in poor communities already implementing local adaptation strategies to fight adverse impacts of climate change, I have learnt that indigenous knowledge may well hold the key to achieve sustainability.  I firmly believe that mainstreaming this local wisdom into research practice and combining it with the most innovative scientific approaches taken place today we can all enhance our adaptive capacity to learn how to live in a planet with a changing climate. For this reason, it is my intention to make research process and findings available to all of you who may be interested in the subject. Particularly, I am creating this blog to make data available to those wanting to share experiences and good (and bad) practices of migration as a climate change adaptation. More specifically, I am creating this blog, where my fieldwork diary, research documentation and other information will be offered, to collaborate with activists, social movements, and specially so-called “vulnerable” communities, in their political advocacy efforts to make people´s rights prevail.

“If the ideas that rule our culture are stopping us from saving ourselves, then it is within our power to change those ideas.” (Naomi Klein, 2014)

 yo peque   Cristina Alonso Fernández was born in Barcelona, Spain, during dictatorship times.  She never finished secondary school, working instead in the hospitality industry.  Later in life she studied as a mature student in the UK, first an Access Course to Social Sciences and Humanities to end up graduating in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She lived several years in South-East Asia working as an English teacher before going back to Europe to complete a Master´s Degree in International Development Studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam in The Netherlands. She collaborated in several research projects in the UK (LSE, Exeter) and The Netherlands (ASCoR) before leaving Europe again, this time for Latin America. Before arriving to Costa Rica and going freelance to keep on learning in the field, she worked several years as a researcher in the Lower Lempa Valley for Friends of the Earth El Salvador, where she studied climate change vulnerabilities and capabilities of farming communities prone to flooding.
Alonso, C. (2012) – Adaptation to Climate Change in El Salvador – Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis of Communities Amando López and Octavio Ortiz in the Lower Lempa Valley (article)
 (2012)- Adaptation to Climate Change in El Salvador – Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis of Communities Amando López and Octavio Ortiz in the Lower Lempa Valley (poster presented at the Adaptation Futures Conference, Arizona, 2012)
(2012) – CBA Initiatives and Proposals from Rural Communities Amando López and Octavio Ortiz, Lower Lempa Valley, Jiquilisco, El Salvador
(2011) – Adaptación al Cambio Climático en El Salvador – Identificación Comunitaria de Vulnerabilidades y Capacidades de las Comunidades del Bajo Lempa Amando López y Octavio Ortiz (full report in Spanish)

Click to access climatico-en-el-salvador.pdf

(2009) – Migratory Exodus and Development in Bolivia – The Impact of EU Restrictions on Inmigration to Spain as experienced by Cochabambino Transnational Families (Master Thesis, MSc International Development Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

2 thoughts on “Cristina Alonso’s Fieldwork Diary: Preliminary Stage

  1. Cristina – I am an AP journalist looking to travel to Panama in several weeks (or sooner) to tell the story of climate change in Panama and Kuna people as part of a larger story about energy exports. I would like to meet up with you. Please email me at


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