A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Monday, 6 December 2010

Dishonouring Pachamama: Climate Change In South America

More extracts from John Vidal's Guardian article about climate change in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador...

Ecuador has nearly lost one third of its ice.

Lake Titicaca had twice shrunk 85 per cent following temperatures only 2-3 degrees C higher than now.

The cost of climate change to Bolivia, South America's poorest country, could be over 7 per cent of its GDP by 2025 - almost as much as the country's combined spending on health and education.

In Huayhuasi, Peru, llama and alpaca farmers have been badly hit by recurring water shortages. 'The rains used to be from October to April. Now it rains for two to three months if we are lucky. This year we had deep frosts where the temperature dropped to -17 degrees C. Many people died in the province', says Elias Pacco.

'The sick Pachamama (Mother Nature) is losing her vital liquid - water,' says Marlon Santi, the president of the Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the 10-million strong group of indigenous peoples. 'Our brothers and sisters used to know when to sow and harvest. We have unusual droughts and floods and frosts and strange illnesses. We have pests, frosts, worms and new plagues.'

'In the old days there was snow on all the mountains, but for 10 years now there has been none. We do not know when to plant,' says farmer Julio Hermandez from Panta Leon, near Cusco, Peru. 'People are leaving to go to the cities because they can no longer grow crops or keep animals. Perhaps this is a punishment. In the past we used to honour Mother Earth more. It was a happier place then. The mountains looked like they had a white scarf around their necks. We are older now; we saw the snow-capped mountains. What will our children see?'


George said...

Ditto to what I said yesterday. Pachamama is in trouble. We have forgotten the old biblical warning that we shall reap what we sow; what we are sowing now, both environmentally and socio-economically, is an unprecedented disaster.

Ruth said...

I am most frightened about water on the planet.

Tramp said...

The climate is such a complex mechanism. Dramatic, undeniable changes are taking place in some parts of the world, but there are places where little is changing. Ice sheets in some parts of the Antarctic are retreating, others show no change.
It is not ours to abuse; Mother Nature tries to warn us that we can't fight her, we have to work with her and not against her, but we don't want to listen. We have to put back what we take. What is tragic is that those who live in this way, close to nature, who understand it better than we do, are deprived of their livelihoods and it is dismissed as unimportant in the selfish scheme of things.

The Solitary Walker said...

Hopefully we can all pull together and reverse things at the eleventh hour. But I fear it may be too little too late.