We were delighted to note the other day that the excellent website upsidedownworld.org was back online after recovering from a very malicious hack several months ago. UDW has been ‘Covering Activism and Politics in Latin America’ since 2003, and they’ve now moved their archive to a new site & server. See their About page. Obviously their recent news/analysis is pretty sparse and not all sections of the site are running fully yet, but there’s still a wealth of informative writing to peruse.
To celebrate their return, we thought we’d share this article from January 2015: ‘Climate Change Threatens Quechua and Their Crops in Peru’s Andes‘. This refers to their potato & other crops in the mountains near the town of Pisac, in the Cusco region (which we visited in 2014 – see photos). In this area can be found the ‘Parque de la Papa’ (Potato Park), where indigenous communities “are preserving potatoes and biodiversity, along with their spiritual rites and traditional farming techniques” at altitudes of upto 4500m, with a stunning 1460 varieties of potato!
But even this is under threat from climate change, with rising temperatures & decreasing rainfall reducing the growing season from 5/6 months to under 4 months, alongside soil erosion and an increase in pests & disease. Lino Mamani, one of the ‘papa arariwa’ [potato guardians, in Quechua], warns: “Pachamama [mother earth, in Quechua] is nervous about what we are doing to her. All of the crops are moving up the mountains, to higher and higher ground, and they will do so until it’s too high to grow.” Read the full fascinating article from UpsideDownWorld here.