As our trip to south America gets ever closer, we’ve been giving some thought to the weather.
We know that, particularly on the pacific west coast, it’s possible to experience several different weather systems in one day due to the geography, and depending whereabouts you are. So we’re ready to ‘layer up’, or down, each day. But recently we’ve been keeping an eye on the bigger climate picture.
Fires raging near to Santiago (Foto by Robert Antezana/Facebook, published online in the Santiago Times)
Whilst we’ve been saturated in the UK, the east coast of north America has experienced a polar vortex, then down south in parts of Brazil into Argentina there’s been a major heatwave. There’ve been killer floods in Mexico, and contacts in Ecuador suggest it’s been wetter then usual up in the mountains. Australia too is having serious heatwaves, whilst in major asian cities such as Bejing there’s been a killer smog. Less reported have been forest fires raging across central/southern regions of Chile, which allied with serious hot weather in some parts have led to toxic smoke & health warnings in places such as Santiago.
So what’s going on? Is it just a case of technology telling us faster and in more detail of variations in the weather, or is the weather generally becoming more unstable? And if so, why? Now we arent weather specialists nor environmental scientists, but we can’t help but conclude that humanity’s impact on planet earth is making things worse. If we continue to cut down forests, concrete over huge swathes of land, dig/drill/blast our way down into the earth, pollute the land/seas/atmosphere, then this has to be having some impact.
Yes, we know, we’re flying there too…
The absolute failure of western dominated ‘agreements’ to reduce emissions and ‘green ourselves’ is evident to all. But what impact does this have on the less-developed countries, and what are the responses from the peoples there? We’e started to read around the matter a little in a south American context, which takes time (and isnt helped by our lack of other language fluency), but we have come across a few interesting pieces.
Perhaps most intriguing so far has been this blog/pamphlet: Space for movement? Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state (Building Bridges collective, 2010). Which reflected on the ‘World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth – CMPCCC’. Well worth a read online, and also has a good brief summary of recent Bolivian history.
We’re intrigued to see what local responses we might come across as we travel around, and indeed what the weather is gonna be like?