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Re: SC12

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April 07, 2006 11:29PM
http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=54944

Global warming is vanquishing ancient glaciers throughout South America, killing crops and threatening the water source for millions.

........In the last five years, the ice cap on Cotacachi's craggy peak -- there for as long as anyone could remember -- has vanished, leaving her bare and brown. Since then, farmers complain that creeks they've relied on for years no longer give enough water to sustain their small plots of corn, potatoes and beans. Waterfalls where shamans once performed healing ceremonies have all but disappeared.

"We realize that it doesn't snow much anymore, and that the soil is drier every day," Ramos says. "Many people say they have no water in their irrigation ditches. When the corn harvest begins in the summer, it is like a desert here. Everything is ugly."

As conflicts break out over scarce resources, the struggle to explain Cotacachi's water woes has divided inhabitants between old and young, indigenous and mixed-race mestizos, townspeople and country folk. The older Quichuas whisper that Mama Cotacachi is aging, just like a person, and she must be taken care of so she will continue to produce. Young fieldworkers curse greedy plantation owners for hogging the water for themselves. Some townspeople blame the glacier's disappearance on merchants who climbed Cotacachi by donkey, hacked off chunks of ice, and carried them down to sell in the market below.

But science offers a different explanation, one that is gaining credence with younger mestizos who have studied outside Cotacachi. Rising global temperatures are melting glaciers throughout South America. At its relatively low height of 16,000 feet, Cotacachi was one of the first Andean mountains to lose its ice cap. Scientists predict that most small glaciers in the mountain range will disappear in the next two decades; 80 percent of glaciers in nearby Bolivia will likely be gone by 2015. The glaciers' retreat could contribute to water shortages and flash floods across the continent. If the warming trend continues, Cotacachi's problems may be a troubling sign of what lies ahead.
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SC12

Wizard 992April 06, 2006 09:18PM

Re: SC12

Wizard 607April 06, 2006 10:12PM

Shake & Bake?

mojavegreen 1306April 07, 2006 11:32AM

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Wizard 577April 07, 2006 11:29PM

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Wizard 666April 11, 2006 05:29PM

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Rick 621April 20, 2006 03:52PM

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Paul P. 1114April 20, 2006 04:56PM



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