Climate change destroys lives of Ecuadorian village farmers
July 23, 2012
Frosts aren’t on time for the 960 people living in this tiny, remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in South America.
A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts - and their impact on crop cycles - are kind of a big deal.
In this agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days, the harvests aren’t as full.
Village residents say it’s the mark of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.
“In Ecuador, we’ve really experienced a sudden change in our climate,” said Ana Loja, a professor at the University of Cuenca, in the Andes of southern Ecuador. “We cannot say, ‘Maybe this is not happening,’ but I think everyone is aware it is a real problem.”
Ecuador isn’t alone. Since the early 20th century, global average temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warming is caused by atmospheric heat-trapping emissions, primarily carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, development experts say climate change is slowly but surely showing its effects. By 2050, the world’s expected temperature rise of about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will cost the region more than $100 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances research and development efforts in the region.