Montana Meets Vietnam

University of Montana Students to Study Climate Change in Vietnam

Credit: Kevin Radley.

At first blush, you’d imagine that Montana and Vietnam don’t have much in common. One place is largely dry and, at the moment, bitterly cold; the other is wet and tropical. Beyond that, you’d probably be hard pressed to get a good bowl of Pho in Montana (or a Rocky Mountain oyster, come to think of it, in Hanoi). I could be completely wrong about both, of course.

But in both places, agriculture is a big part of the economy. Both have significant rural populations. And both Vietnam and Montana are likely to suffer major impacts over the rest of this century as a result of climate change.

And that’s why nine University of Montana students and a couple of faculty members are in Vietnam countryside right now. They’ll be there through much of January on a mini-study-abroad program, co-sponsored by Can Tho University, located in the country’s Mekong Delta, to study the intertwined relationships of society, environment, and economy, to look at the potential impacts of climate change on each of these, and to see how people are adapting, or planning to adapt, to the coming changes.

Among other things, the students will be spending several days in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), taking field trips to coastal fishing communities, meeting with rice and aquaculture farmers, and visiting cultural sites. They'll also travel to mangrove forests in Ca Mau Province, wetlands in Tram Chim National Park (one of the last natural wetlands in the Plain of Reeds wetland system), Can Tho University field experiment stations, and the resort island of Phu Quoc.

Best of all, they've agreed to blog about their trip for Climate Central. So be sure to return often to find out what the students are up to, and what they've been learning along the way.