Latin America & the Caribbean

Life Below Water – the UN Calls for Action on Ocean Protection

President of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkir has told a high-level debate on oceans that the world cannot afford to delay action on ocean protection. “There is simply no scenario wherein we live on a planet without an ocean,” he said.

Sowing Water by Restoring Ancient Ditches in the Peruvian Highlands

In the highlands near the capital of Peru, more than 3,000 metres above sea level, ageold water recovery techniques are being used to improve access to water for 1,400 families, for household consumption and for crops and livestock.

Illegal Clearing by Agribusiness ‘Driving Rainforest Destruction’

Deforestation in Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for 44 per cent of the global loss of tropical forests, with most of the conversion to agricultural land being carried out illegally, concludes a study by the non-profit organisation Forest Trends.

Why Latin America is the Middle East of Biofuel

Latin America has lots of natural advantages for the coming energy transition. It already has the greenest power matrix in the world. While having the planet’s largest reserves of copper make it a key provider for international electrification programmes.

China’s Firms Gain a Foothold in South America as Energy Providers

Over the past decade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from China have carved out a niche as owners and operators of electric utilities in South American countries through acquisitions of energy grids. As SOEs shift from their previous role as mostly builders to investors in large energy assets, policymakers in South America and in Washington should consider the implications of having these companies at the helm of such services.

International Cooperation Gives Biogas a Boost in Rural Cuba

Yunia Cancio cooked with firewood until a few years ago, when a biodigester was built on her family’s El Renacer farm in Cabaiguán, a municipality in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spíritus, under the Biomass Cuba project. That change meant a lot for her family’s quality of life, but it was not the only one.

– Jamaica Failing to Cope with Plastic Waste –

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, drawing from IPS’s bank of features and opinion editorials published this year, we are re-publishing one article a day, for the next two weeks. The original article was published on January 20 2021

Q&A: On the Frontline, Islands Aim to Seize Climate Initiatives

The “all-virtual” Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW) that took place May 11-14 highlighted islands’ particular vulnerabilities in the face of both climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. But the event - hosted by the Dominican Republic - also provided “important momentum for a successful UN Climate Change Conference” (COP 26) in November in Glasgow, according to the United Nations.

South America’s Gas Dreams

The gas producing countries of South America are debating on how to make better use of the resource and how to integrate the sector, amid geographical and infrastructural barriers.

Biogas in Argentina: Turning an Environmental Problem into a Solution

"Until five years ago, we didn't know about the circular economy, but today our waste generates environmentally neutral products that also offer a return,” says José Luis Barrinat, manager of a cooperative that brings together some 550 small farmers in Monje, Argentina.

Brazil Relies on Rainfall that Depends on the Forests

"Rainfall is fundamental; the streams and rivers we have would not suffice for irrigation, even if they were the Amazon River," said Dirceu Dezem, referring to the amount of water required for the extensive crops in Brazil’s midwest.

The Complex Energy Transition of Chile’s “Sacrifice Zones”

Standing on Punta Ventanilla, Carlos Vegas, 65, looks across at the industrial park which has been there most of his life. He looks at the impact of the 15 industries spread around the bay that connects the towns of Quintero and Puchuncaví, in central Chile.

Colombia Gives Nearly 1 Million Venezuelan Migrants Legal Status and Right to Work

Colombia will grant legal status to all Venezuelan migrants who fled there since 2016 to escape their country’s economic collapse and political crisis.

Ecological Cookstoves Help Preserve El Salvador’s Coastal Mangroves

A score of coastal communities in El Salvador are staking their bets on sustainable development as a form of life that does not overexploit natural resources diminished by years of government neglect and a lack of environmental awareness, using instruments ranging from ecological cookstoves to mangrove reforestation.

Farmers in Brazil Benefit as Biogas Replaces Firewood

"Biogas is worth gold to us, we can no longer live without it," Claudete Volkswey, a poultry farmer in the municipality of Toledo, in the southwestern state of Paraná, Brazil, said enthusiastically about the new source of energy that has allowed her to get a good night’s sleep again, because she no longer has to get up to stoke the fire every two hours.

Mexico Looks to the Heavens for a Solution to Its Water Crisis

In neighbourhoods like Tehuixtitla in southern Mexico City, rain brings joy, because it provides water for showering, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking, by means of rainwater harvesting systems (RHS).

Pandemic Accentuates Need for Caribbean Countries to Improve Food and Nutrition Security

Last year, Jaxine Scott was off work as a caregiver at a primary school as a result of the pandemic. One day, she noticed a green shoot emerging from some garlic in her fridge. She decided to plant it, and to her surprise, it thrived. “I thought ‘It looks like I have a green thumb, let me plant something else,’” Scott says. She now has a backyard garden, including cucumber, pumpkin, melon, callaloo, cantaloupe, pak choy and tomatoes. “It makes me feel good,” she says. “I can help my family members and neighbours. It has saved me money. I’m not going to stop, I’m going to continue,” she says.

Recipes with a Taste of Sustainable Development on the Coast of El Salvador

Salvadoran villager Maria Luz Rodriguez placed the cheese on top of the lasagna she was cooking outdoors, put the pan in her solar oven and glanced at the midday sun to be sure there was enough energy for cooking.

What’s in a Hurricane Name? Dorian, Laura, Eta & Iota Retired from WMO List

The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Hurricane Committee decided at its annual meeting to retire four tropical cyclone names from its rotating list after assessing the record-breaking hurricane 2020 season.

Nobel Economist and 100 Experts Condemn Corporate Action against Argentina and Bolivia after Rollback of Failed Pension Privatization

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Juan Somavia, Jeffrey Sachs, Jose Antonio Ocampo and more than 100 high-level development experts have issued a statement protesting insurance corporations suing Argentina and Bolivia over the reversal of their failed pension privatizations at closed sessions of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank. If Argentina and Bolivia lose the disputes, it means that impoverished citizens and elderly pensioners will have to compensate wealthy financial corporations. Read their letter:

Maquila Female Workers in Their Own Words: Fighting COVID and Labor Abuse

A compilation of testimonies collected by Blanca Velázquez Díaz and published by the Ebert Foundation (available at: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/mexiko/17328.pdf) offers an account of the harsh reality by which some workers of the maquila industry in the Mexican state of Morelos have gone through over these last twelve months. Their words reflect, undoubtedly, similar experiences of millions of workers in different parts of the country.

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