Sunday, July 22, 2012

For Ecuadorian village, a struggle to adapt to changing climate

Annika Mcginnis in the Kansas City Star via McClatchy:  Frosts aren't on time for the 960 people living in [Ayaloma, a] tiny, remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in South America. A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts - and their impact on crop cycles - are kind of a big deal.

In this agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days, the harvests aren't as full. Village residents say it's the mark of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.

"In Ecuador, we've really experienced a sudden change in our climate," said Ana Loja, a professor at the University of Cuenca, in the Andes of southern Ecuador. "We cannot say, 'Maybe this is not happening,' but I think everyone is aware it is a real problem."

...In Latin America and the Caribbean, development experts say climate change is slowly but surely showing its effects. By 2050, the world's expected temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will cost the region more than $100 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances research and development efforts in the region.

Because of its location and dependence on natural resources, Latin America is especially vulnerable to climatic effects, the report said. By 2050, it predicted widespread flooding and coastal damage; the loss of Andean glaciers, Amazon rainforest and much of the Caribbean's coral region; a $32 billion to $54 billion annual decrease in agricultural exports; and increased tropical diseases and severe weather...

A vicuna near the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador, a phenomenal shot by Dabit100 / David Torres Costales@DavoTC, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: