Family farmers in Chile are pushing for the reinstatement of water as a public good, to at least partially solve the shortages caused by the privatisation of water rights by the military dictatorship in 1981.
In Argentina, where millions of families have unmet dietary needs despite the country’s vast expanse of fertile land, the Huerta Niño project promotes organic gardens in rural primary schools, to teach children healthy eating habits and show them that they can grow their own food to fight hunger.
Costa Rica has almost reached its goal of an energy mix based solely on renewable sources, harnessing solar, wind and geothermal power, as well as the energy of the country’s rivers.
The Atlantic ocean is Brazil’s last frontier to the east. But the full extent of its biodiversity is still unknown, and scientific research and conservation measures are lagging compared to the pace of exploitation of resources such as oil.
Chile lives under the constant threat of spillage from tailings ponds, which became even more marked in late March after heavy rains fell in the desert region of Atacama leaving over two dozen people dead and missing and thousands without a home.
Latin America is making heavy weather of setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, which all countries must present ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference later this year.
In Brazil water and electricity go together, and two years of scant rainfall have left tens of millions of people on the verge of water and power rationing, boosting arguments for the need to fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The new interoceanic canal being built in Nicaragua has brought good and bad news for the scientific community: new species and archeological sites have been found and knowledge of the local ecosystems has grown, but the project poses a huge threat to the environment.
A strike that has brought activity to a halt since January on three major banana plantations on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, along the border with Panama, has highlighted the abuses in a sector in the hands of transnational corporations and has forced the governments of both countries to intervene.
In the wake of the fire that destroyed more than 34,000 hectares of forests, some of them ancient, in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region, the authorities will have to put out flames that are no less serious: the new socio-environmental catastrophe that will emerge from the ashes.
Six million people in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, may at some point find themselves without water. The February rains did not ward off the risk and could even aggravate it by postponing rationing measures which hydrologists have been demanding for the last six months.
Nearly three years after the rights of El Salvador’s indigenous people were recognised in the constitution, there are still no public policies and laws to translate that historic achievement into reality.
On the blue flame of her biogas stove, it takes half as long for rural doctor Arianna Toledo to heat bath water and cook dinner as it did four years ago, when she still used electric power or firewood.
“I would get asbestos in my mouth, spit it out and carry on working,” said 52-year-old Francisco Padilla. Exposure to this deadly mineral fibre over most of his working life has resulted in cancer and the removal of his left lung, the lung lining and part of his diaphragm.
If cities have souls, the Argentine capital’s is turning more and more grey. Real estate speculation, the fencing in and paving of parks, and the installation of private bars and restaurants in public squares have changed the face of the city. Green spaces with carefully tended flower beds? Today they’re found mainly in the nostalgia brought on by a classic tango song.