Happy Earth Day!

Posted on April 22, 2007. Filed under: Environment, News & Politics |

We Latinas love to visit our second homes in Latin America. But what would you say if I told you that it can be submerged underwater or as dry as a desert by 2060? Well the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) included the effects Global Warming in Latin America in last week’s report Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The study reports that by mid century,

  • Precipitation patterns will change
  • Glaciers will disappear
  • Temperatures will continue to rise and soil water will decrease
  • Sea-level and sea surface temperature will continue to rise

What does this all mean?

  • Major rain-decreases in northern Brazil, some parts of Mexico, center-south Chile and center-west Argentina
  • Tropical forests in the Amazon and agricultural lands in Latin America will turn to savannas and deserts
  • Even plants in deserts will suffer, especially in the Chihuahua desert in between Mexico and the United States. Many will shrivel and become extinct with the intense heat.
  • Decline of crop and livestock productivity
  • Less water for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation. For example, the rivers Grande and Bravo between the US and Mexico are drying before reaching the sea.
  • Flooding in low-lying areas, which has already started with the Santa Fe province flooding in Argentina last month
  • Adverse effects on Mesoamerican Barrie Reef System and coral reefs in Caribbean waters
  • Shifts in the location of south-east Pacific fish stocks
  • Semi-arid vegetation will be replaced by arid-land vegetation, which means that many species in Latin American tropical areas will be extinct. I also read in Frogs Fading into Silence that due to environmental degradation, habitat loss, ultraviolet radiation, disease and climate change, frogs and other amphibians are rapidly become extinct in Latin America. In the Caribbean, as many as 80% of the species are endangered, while in Columbia there are 209 species and in Mexico 198 amphibians that may soon disappear. What do this mean? That you may soon not hear the coqui in the trees of Puerto Rico.

Some of these issues have already started in certain regions as featured in a Nicaraguan website:

  • Massive rains in Venezuela
  • Flooding in Argentina
  • Droughts in the Amazon
  • Hail storms in Bolivia
  • Record season of cyclones in the Caribbean

A Peruvian website states that:

  • The Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia has split and scientists confirm it will disappear in seven or eight years
  • Glaciers, such as Yanamarey in Peru, Cordillera Blanca and Santa Rosa, and the snowed-volcano in Santa Isabel, Colombia, are disappearing too.

What can you do?

You can support several US projects that improve the environment and the state of life ofthose living in Latin America.

  • The Chiapas Project aims to eradicate poverty in Latin America by providing small loans to poor women who are interested in starting their own small businesses. With these loans, many of these entrepreneurs produce goods, such as handicrafts, to sell at market. As a result of The Chiapas Project, these women gain economic independence, the economy is stimulated and strengthened in these areas in Latin America. So far, The Chiapas Project has expanded businesses in Haiti, El Salvador and other Latin American countries. Because this need for business loans is still very much needed throughout Latin America, The Chiapas Project is extending the invitation to whomever would like to help eradicate poverty and help these hard-working women who simply aspire for improvement in the lives of their families and themselves. How does it work? You sign up on the website and then a collection box is put into your place of business. Then employees drop off their used cell phone and ink jet cartridges. These products are recycled and the 100% of the proceeds benefits The Chiapas Project. Theyreceive $1 for every used inkjet cartridge and up to $300 for every used cell phone they collect With this organization, you’re contributing to the environmentalist and Latin American cause. Making a positive contribution has never been so easy! 🙂
  • Guayakí Yerba Mate is a mate-selling company. Mate is a “good for you” energy drink that can easily replace coffee with its 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and many antioxidants. Its native to South America and its revered as the “drink of the gods.” This company’s mate is rainforest-grown, certified organic and fairly traded. But this company isn’t only good for you; its great for Latin American economy and environment. Its manufacturers use solar power, and it works with indigenous communities and growers to grow yerba mate in the rainforest (its ideal habitat). It continues its commitment to sustainable forest production in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, and as a result it fuels reforestation projects and provides income for the indigenous people. So if you buy their products, you’d be supporting the reforestation movement.



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