“The sun which used to torment us now blesses us," said one of the 19 women who run the Community Bakery of Varzea Comprida dos Oliveiras, a settlement in the rural area of Pombal, a municipality of the state of Paraiba, in Brazil's semi-arid Northeast.
Rocks, once a hindrance since they reduced arable land, have become an asset. Pedrina Pereira and João Leite used them to build four ponds to collect rainwater in a farming community in Brazil’s semi-arid Northeast.
The retention of rainwater which otherwise is lost at sea could be an excellent medicine against the advance of the desert from northern to central Chile, but there is no political will to take the necessary actions, according to experts and representatives of affected communities.
"Now we live well," say both Givaldo and Nina dos Santos, after showing visiting farmers their 1.25-hectare farm in Brazil’s semi-arid Northeast, which is small but has a great variety of fruit trees, thanks to innovative water and production techniques.
“Our main challenge is to get the project back on track," agreed the administrators of two affordable housing complexes, where a small solar power plant was installed for social purposes in Juazeiro, a city in northeast Brazil.
Twenty-five years ago, Mexican engineer Gustavo Rodriguez decided to collect rainwater to solve the scarcity of water in his home and contribute to the care of natural resources.
Having a seven-litre container with a filter on the dining room table that purifies the collected rainwater, and opening a small valve to fill a cup and quench thirst, is almost revolutionry for Salvadoran peasant farmer Víctor de León.
As in other Latin American countries, in recent years China has been a strong investor in Argentina. The environmental impact and economic benefits of this phenomenon, however, are a subject of discussion among local stakeholders.
With 80 percent of the population living in urban areas and a vehicle fleet that is growing at the fastest rate in the world, Latin America has the conditions to begin the transition to electric mobility - but public policies are not, at least for now, up to the task.
Chile has become a model country for its advances in non-conventional energy, and is now debating whether citizens who individually or as a group generate electricity can profit from the sale of the surplus from their self-consumption - a factor that will be decisive when it comes to encouraging their contribution to the energy supply.
“It made me angry that a company from outside the region was making money from renewable energy and I wondered why people weren't getting involved," says Petra Gruner-Bauer, president of the German co-operative SolixEnergie.
The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.
Cattle ranching has been severely affected by drought in Brazi's Northeast region, but it has not only survived but has made a comeback in the Jacuípe river basin thanks to an optimal use of water.
An energy transition is spreading around the globe. But in Brazil it will be characterised by sharp contrasts, with large hydroelectric plants being replaced by solar microgenerators and government decisions being replaced by family and community decision-making.
Latin America is facing challenges in energy efficiency, transportation and power generation to move towards a low carbon economy and thus accelerate that transition, which is essential to cut emissions in order to reduce global warming before it reaches a critical level.
Visionaries imagined it more than 80 years ago, as a way to strengthen the integration between Argentina and Chile. Today it is considered a regional need to boost trade flows between the two oceans. Work on a binational tunnel, a giant engineering project in the Andes, is about to begin.
Indigenous communities in Latin America, who have suffered the plunder of their natural resources since colonial times, are reliving that phenomenon again as mega infrastructure are jeopardising their habitat and their very survival.
The Argentine population can now generate their own energy through clean and unconventional sources and incorporate surpluses into the public grid, thanks to a new law. This is an important novelty in a country embarked on a slow and difficult process, with a still uncertain end, to replace fossil fuels.
The railroad can contribute to the economy, making transportation cheaper, but it is unlikely to foment equitable development in and of itself, apart from facing complex construction obstacles in countries like Brazil.
Tocantins, the newest of Brazil’s 26 states, which was created in 1988 to seek its own paths to development in central Brazil, fell into the common plight of expanding borders, based on soy and hydroelectricity.
A 75 percent drop in electricity rates, thanks to a quadrupled clean generation capacity, is one of the legacies to be left in Chile by the administration of Michelle Bachelet, who steps down on Mar. 11.