Monday, December 07, 2009

Disappearing Glaciers Threaten Bolivia's Capital

The disappearance of Bolivia's glaciers due to global warming is threatening the drinking and agricultural water supply of the country's capital.

As the BBC reports:

Scientists monitoring the glaciers high in the Andes mountains - a key source of water - say the ice is showing signs of shrinking faster than previously forecast.

Faced with a booming population and a combination of glacial retreat and reduced rainfall, the governor of the La Paz region is even contemplating moving people to other parts of Bolivia.

Water is already in short supply among the poorest communities and has become a cause of tension.

In El Alto's District 8, I watched 13-year-old Christian Muraga fill a bucket from a communal tap shared with 80 families.

I asked if the tap always produces water.

"No, there isn't water every day from this tap, sometimes nothing."

The nearest alternative is nearly one kilometre away. Campaign groups say as many as one quarter of the city's population do not have ready access to water.

Sergio Criales of Oxfam told me: "The problem is getting worse because of climate change and because they don't have enough water to cover all their demands."

Stories like this provide a reminder of why I rail so hard against major media articles that convey global warming as simply an 'environmental' problem.

At a time when doubt about climate change is on the rise, but our best experts say time is running short to implement bold solutions,  media reporters are doing humanity a tremendous disservice when they fail to adequately cover the very real human dimensions of issue.

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1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard that glaciers were disappearing from that part of the world. I thought it was only in the north and south poles. I didn't know that glaciers in the mountains were disappearing. That's pretty scary.