Seaweed, a nutrient-rich foodstuff that was a regular part of the diet of several South American indigenous peoples, is emerging as a new pillar of food security in Latin America and is providing a livelihood for thousands of people in the region’s coastal areas.
The declaration that will be presented for approval at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in October has again sparked conflict between the opposing positions taken by the industrial North and the developing South.
A ban on harvesting shellfish in Chiloé due to a severe red tide outbreak sparked a social uprising that has partially isolated thousands of local residents of the southern Chilean archipelago and revived criticism of an export model that condemns small-scale fishing communities to poverty and marginalisation.
Chile, a country with 6,435 km of Pacific Ocean coast line, could find in wave and tidal power a solution to its need to diversify its energy mix.
Voluntary guidelines on land tenure adopted by the international community to combat the growing concentration of land ownership and improve secure access to land have begun to make headway in Latin America, a region that is a leader in the fight against hunger and that is taking firm steps towards achieving food security.
“Fishing isn’t just for making a living, it’s also enjoyable,” said Pedro Pascual, a 70-year-old fisherman who has been taking his small boat out to sea off Chile’s Pacific coast in the early hours of the morning almost every day for the past 50 years, to support his family.
The Chilean government’s approval of a hydroelectric dam in the Patagonia wilderness has rekindled the debate on the sustainability and efficiency of large-scale hydropower plants and whether they contribute to building a cleaner energy mix.
A novel energy project in Chile will combine a pumped-storage hydroelectric plant operating on seawater and a solar plant, to provide a steady supply of clean energy to a fishing village in the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest.
Terrace farming as practiced from time immemorial by native peoples in the Andes mountains contributes to food security as a strategy of adaptation in an environment where the geography and other conditions make the production of nutritional foods a complex undertaking.
Chile’s altiplano or high plateau region, pounded by the sun of the Atacama desert, the driest place in the world, is home to dozens of indigenous communities struggling for subsistence by means of sustainable tourism initiatives that are not always that far removed from out-of-control capitalism.
The inhabitants of the northern Chilean mining region of Antofagasta have the highest per capita income in the country. But some 4,000 local families continue to live in slums - a reflection of one of the most marked situations of inequality in this country.
Liliana and Luisa Terán, two indigenous women from northern Chile who travelled to India for training in installing solar panels, have not only changed their own future but that of Caspana, their remote village nestled in a stunning valley in the Atacama desert.
Chile, a land of volcanoes and geysers, has started building South America’s first geothermal plant, which would open a door to this kind of renewable energy in this country that depends largely on fossil fuels.
Latin America should assume a position of global leadership by adopting effective measures to protect the oceans, which are threatened by illegal fishing, the impacts of climate change, and pollution caused by acidification and plastic waste.
The already precarious situation of pensioners in Chile will get even worse if a controversial initiative is approved. Under the new plan, the elderly would mortgage their homes to increase their meagre pensions, most of which come from prívate pension funds, and which average 230 dollars a month.