When History Is Now: History and Sustainability in Rural Nicaragua
Sabana Grande, Nicaragua, serves as a useful model for what the quest for sustainability in rural Latin America might look like. Drawing on oral histories and archival research, this article explores the ways members of this community have been collaborating for the past twenty years to reshape their relationship with water, energy and food. From this work has emerged a widely shared sense that sustainability depends both on thoughtful adoption of new technologies and on the careful curation of local wisdom about managing human-environment interactions. Sustainability also depends upon resilience in the face of the unpredictable, a lesson learned over many decades of severe privation—and one learned in the present in confronting the vicissitudes of climate chaos, political instability, and economic uncertainty. Finally, the organizing work that has facilitated these collaborations has produced another key ingredient to sustainability not only in Latin America but anywhere in the world: the empowerment of women.