Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, COVID 19, Disasters, Environment, Food Security, Fundraising Campaign, News Highlights, Water/Agua

Moving Forward from the Devastation of Tropical Storms Amanda and Cristóbal

Español Abajo

103097652_3051445654944141_4313488328019419403_oIn the midst of the most critical part of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a little more than 3,000 people infected and more than fifty registered Coronavirus related deaths, El Salvador suffered another strong blow: the severe impacts of two consecutive tropical storms. Storms Amanda and Cristóbal have claimed 30 lives, destroyed hundreds of houses, affected bridges, obstructed streets due to landslides, and led to the evacuation of thousands of families.

The situation is especially hard since the recommendation to avoid COVID-19 is to stay at home, but for families who have lost their homes or are close to losing everything, effective distancing is almost impossible in crowded shelters where obtaining adequate food and clean water is priority.

The post-pandemic food crisis will now be more intense, since the storms caused the ruin of thousands of hectares used to cultivate corn, beans, vegetables and fruit, in addition to hundreds of lost cattle and livestock. The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock has reported 29,527 acres of affected crops and a harvest loss of 284,411 quintals of basic grains, affecting 22,476 producers.

As always, one of the most heavily affected areas is the coastal region, because the geography of the terrain favors the accumulation of water flooding the land. In the Bajo Lempa, communities Octavio Ortiz and Amando López have lost entire family farms, as well as their corn, vegetable and plantain crops and two substantial community fish production projects.

Thankfully, the sun is now shining over most parts of the country and the storm systems have moved north. According to the Ministry of Environment (MARN), El Salvador will experience a gradual return to typical rainy season conditions: scattered storms in the afternoons and evenings. Despite the reduction in rains, communities that live on the banks of the river Lempa continue to closely monitor it’s behavior, and they have also equipped temporary shelters for any emergency that may arise throughout the winter.

Voices on the Border maintains a state of alert as well in order to support these vulnerable communities take selected preventive measures or enact immediate live saving actions. At this time, we are working with the Amando López and Octavio Ortiz communities in their efforts to restore their massive crop and livestock loss.

If you would like to express your solidarity with these families, please consider making a donation to our 2020 El Salvador Storm Season Relief Fund and in doing so create some hope, in the midst of two crises.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Superando la Devastación de las Tormentas Tropicales Amanda y Cristóbal

En medio de la parte más crítica de la pandemia de COVID-19, con un poco más de 3.000 personas infectadas y más de cincuenta muertes relacionadas con COVID-19, El Salvador sufrió otro fuerte golpe, los graves impactos de dos tormentas tropicales consecutivas. Las tormentas Amanda y Cristóbal se cobraron 30 vidas, destruyeron cientos de casas, afectaron puentes, obstruyeron calles debido a deslizamientos de tierra y llevaron a la evacuación de miles de familias.

La situación es conmovedora, en momentos donde la recomendación para evitar el COVID-19 es quedarse en casa, las familias que han perdido la suya o están cerca de perderla; el distanciamiento físico tampoco funciona, la gente se aglomera para conseguir un poco de comida o agua limpia y en los saturados albergues resulta casi imposible hacer efectivo dicho distanciamiento.

La crisis alimentaria que se advierte pos pandemia, ahora se presentará con mayor intensidad, puesto que las tormentas causaron la ruina de millas de hectáreas cultivadas con maíz, frijol, hortalizas y frutales además de cientos de cabezas de ganado perdidas. El Ministro de Agricultura y Ganadería ha reportado 17,369 manzanas de cultivos afectados y una pérdida de cosecha de 284,411 quintales de granos básicos, afectando a 22,476 productores.

Como siempre una de las regiones fuertemente afectadas por la pérdida de cultivos es la zona costera, debido a que la geografía del terreno favorece la acumulación de agua inundando los terrenos. En el Bajo Lempa, las comunidades Octavio Ortiz y Amando López han perdido granjas familiares enteras, así como sus cultivos de maíz, vegetales y plátanos y dos importantes proyectos comunitarios de producción pesquera.

Afortunadamente, el sol ahora brilla sobre la mayor parte del país y los sistemas de tormentas se han movido hacia el norte. Según el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente (MARN), El Salvador experimentará un retorno gradual a las condiciones típicas de la temporada de lluvias: tormentas dispersas por las tardes y noches. A pesar de la reducción de las lluvias, las comunidades que viven en las orillas del río Lempa continúan monitoreando de cerca su comportamiento, y también han equipado refugios temporales para cualquier emergencia que pueda surgir durante el invierno.

Voces en la Frontera también mantiene un estado de alerta para ayudar a estas comunidades vulnerables a tomar medidas preventivas seleccionadas o promulgar acciones inmediatas para salvar vidas. En este momento, estamos trabajando con las comunidades de Amando López y Octavio Ortiz en sus esfuerzos por restaurar su pérdida masiva de cultivos y ganado.

Si desea expresar su solidaridad con estas familias, considere hacer una donación a nuestro Fondo de Ayuda de Emergencia para la Temporada de Tormentas 2020 y, al hacerlo, cree alguna esperanza para ellas, en medio de dos crisis.

2020-06-08 TS Amanda Cristobal Snapshot (ESP)

Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, COVID 19, Disasters, News Highlights

Tropical Storm Amanda Ravages El Salvador

d4922581873ab499e55e7720a3ae7895On Sunday May 31st, the country of El Salvador issued a State of Emergency and Red Alert, after nearly two days of the constant terrential winds and rains carried by Tropical Storm Amanda. The storm touched down in various parts of the country and is leaving mild to large-scale devastation in it’s path.

The hardest hit departments are San Salvador, Sonosonate, La Libertad, and San Vicente.

El-Salvador-tormenta-foto-cortesia53646010_303

Over 2,200 families have been evacuated, 44 government-run shelters have been set up, 34 major landslides have been reported, 26 entire sectors are underwater, hundreds of trees, electrical posts and street lights are down, many of the country’s tunnels have flodded, and entire coastal communities have been swept away.

At the time of this writing, 11 people have lost their their lives, including a young child.

“At the national level, in 48 hours we had up to 400 millimeters of water in some areas of the country, which is more than 10% of what falls in a year in the territory,” explained the Minister of the Environment, Fernando López.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, our communities are also being hit hard by the storm. In the Bajo Lempa, entire crops have been lost and communities are on high alert for the possibility of flooding of the Lempa River.

The President of ACUDESBAL, by 3 p.m. 1,000 cubic meters of rain per second had fallen and by 5 p.m., they expect 1,500 cubic meters per second of rain to fall. Communities are being told to keep a close eye on the river and constantly verify its level and to work with local civil protection teams that are being assisted by the Army.

Communities Amando Lopez and Octavio Ortiz have also begun to clean and adecaute their casa comunals in the event families need to be evacuated.

In Morazán, the affects of the storm vary depending on the location. In Segundo Montes, things are relatively calm with no major damages reported except for downed trees.

However, places like San Carlos, San Francisco Gotera and Jocoatique are facing flooding and have had to evacuate various communities. Rio Torola is also being closely monitored and communities are preparing to evacuate if necessary.

tormenta-amandaAccording to the Ministry of Environment (MARN) the storm is supposed to lessen over the next 12 hours before eventually making it’s way towards northern Guatemala. MARN also projects that by the storm’s end, nine rivers, including the Jiquilisco Bay will overflow.

Our team remains in direct contact with our communities and groups in order to render whatever aid necessary, and we’ll continue to keep you all informed about the storm’s progression.

In the meantime, we ask that you keep El Salvador in your hearts and your prayers as it deals with yet another natural catastrophe during a most inopportune time.

agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Womens issues

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE…

… Like giving from your heart


WhatsApp Image 2020-04-29 at 8.28.56 AM

With 587 confirmed cases and 13 deaths, COVID19 is gaining momentum here in El Salvador. Last night, the Salvadoran government decided to extended it’s lockdown measures until May 19th. This means that more people will be out of work, more kids won’t be getting their free school meals (or access to education for that matter), more abuse victims will be subject to more violence and human rights violations will no doubt persist.

To meet the needs of our communities during quarantine, we created a COVID19 Emergency Fund, in order to reach as many vulnerable people as we could. To date, with this fund we have helped over 140 families feed themselves, 14 families maintain their vegetable and livestock farms, and we’ve been working with schools to figure our ways to bring internet to more communities so that all students can fully participate in their online learning.

With the mounting restrictions, we can only do so much as an organization to help during the lockdown, so we’ve found new and innovative ways to communicate, coordinate and monitor the aid that’s needed.

This #GivingTuesday, you can be assured that any donation, small or large, will ensure our ability to carry on providing for individuals and families who’s very survival depends on them going out and earning their day to day income.


 

purple button copy
Click Here to Donate
agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, COVID 19, Economy, El Salvador Government, Food Security, Public Health, Water/Agua

LA OTRA CRISIS EN EL SALVADOR

read in English
13063245_847843142009600_3055142244203715557_o
“El Salvador Soberano Libre de Agrotoxicos y transgénicos”

A la desigualdad económica, violencia social y vulnerabilidad ambiental que se vive en El Salvador desde hace décadas, ahora se suma con toda su intensidad, el impacto en la salud pública y en la economía de la pandemia por el covid19.

El Banco Mundial estima que la economía de El Salvador se contraerá 4.3% y la pobreza aumentará 4% en 2020. El último dato publicado por el gobierno, indica que el 26.3% de los hogares ya viven en condición de pobreza; es decir que el covid19 puede hacer que la pobreza suba al 30% de los hogares salvadoreños, lo que equivale a más de 66 mil hogares que caeran en la pobreza.1

La razón principal de esta realidad es que las medidas impuestas por el gobierno para contener la pandemia ha afectado al 95% de las empresas y por lo menos el 60% reportan que ya no cuentan con dinero para pagar salarios, por lo que 350,000 empleos estan en riesgo inminente de perderse.2 Adicionalmente hay que tener en cuenta que el 72% de la economía salvadoreña es de carácter informal,3 y que este sector es el más golpeado por la pandemia.

Sumandose a la ya complicada situación, está la dependencia del país con respecto a las remesas. Más de 300 mil hogares, la sexta parte de la población, reciben remesas; en 2019 estas representaron el 21.3% del producto interno bruto de El Salvador. Para el 2020 se estima una caida por lo menos del 14% en este rubro,4 ya que Estados Unidos está registrando un récord histórico de desempleo en sectores donde laboran salvadoreños: restaurantes, comercio y construcción.

Sin duda la primera y más profunda manifestación de la crisis económica será en la alimentación. Sobre este tema el Director Ejecutivo del Programa Mundial de Alimentos, de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, ONU. David Beasley, recientemente dijo: “si no nos preparamos ahora podríamos enfrentar múltiples hambrunas de proporciones biblícas en unos pocos meses”.5 En El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua, incluso antes de la pandemia, la inseguridad alimentaria y nutricional se había incrementado y alcanzaba los 4.4 millones de personas; a consecuencia de la pandemia se estima que esta cifra podría duplicarse.6

Para el caso específico de El Salvador la seguridad alimentaria se ha visto afectada por diferentes factores, desde políticas de apertura comercial que arruinaron la agricultura campesina en décadas anteriores, hasta impactos del cambio climático que en los últimos años se ha manifestado en consecutivas y profundas sequías. En 2019, la falta de lluvias dejó pérdidas de producción del 61% y 55% en los cultivos de maíz y frijol. La disminución y en algunos casos la pérdida completa de los granos básicos dejó en crisis a muchas familias, sobre todo aquellas en donde la agricultura es la única fuente de ingresos para subsistir. Resultando en que 277,769 familias, especialmente del oriente del país, antes de la pandemia, ya se encontraban en graves problemas alimentarios.7

Esta situación puede agravarse, también porque El Salvador depende en muy alto grado de las importaciones de alimentos; por ejemplo, el 90% de las frutas y verduras provienen de países centroamericanos y de Estados Unidos. La carne de res, harina de trigo, arroz, maíz amarillo y lácteos, son otros de los productos que se importan en grandes proporciones. Un riesgo potencialmente grave es que los países productores restrijan sus exportaciones para enfrentar la caída de su producción y la alimentación de sus propios pueblos.

En tal sentido, es de extrema importancia asegurar la disponibilidad de alimentos básicos especialmente para la población más vulnerable, de lo contrario los indices de desnutrición se verán aumentados y el covid 19 será más fatal debido a la carencia de una alimentación adecuada.8

De momento, el gobierno salvadoreño está entregando dinero en efectivo para suplir la alimentación básica de un millón y medio de familias, además ha anunciado una serie de medidas económicas de beneficio a la empresa privada con el fin de aliviar los impactos en el empleo. Aunque se están tomando algunas medidas positivas, lamentablemente no son sostenibles porque su financiamiento depende de los préstamos y la capacidad de endeudamiento del estado salvadoreño que está llegando a su límite.

Todo parece indicar que la alternativa más viable es la producción agrícola familiar, de forma masiva en todo el país, cualquier espacio de tierra disponible, sea en la zona rural o urbana, en la costa o la montaña, debería utilizarse para producir alimentos saludables, de lo contrario, en el corto plazo, la comida comenzará a escasear, de forma realmente temible.

DSC_1673 copy
A family farm in Morazán

THE OTHER CRISIS IN EL SALVADOR

Economic inequality, social violence and environmental vulnerability have been experienced for decades in El Salvador. Added now to this reality however, in all its intensity, is the impact that the current pandemic is having on public health and the economy.

The World Bank estimates that El Salvador’s economy will decrease by 4.3% and poverty will increase by 4% in 2020. The latest data published by the government indicates that 26.3% of households already live in poverty; that is to say that COVID19 can increase the rate to 30%, which is equivalent to more than 66,000 households, all falling into poverty.1

This is happening in part because the measures imposed by the government to contain the pandemic have affected 95% of companies and at least 60% of them report that they no longer have the money to pay wages, this means 350,000 jobs are at an imminent risk of disappearing.2 Also, what must be taken into mind is the fact that 72% of El Salvador’s economy is informal,3 the informal sector of course being the most affected during this pandemic.

Adding to this already complicated situation, is the country’s dependence on remittances. More than 300,000 households, or one-sixth of the population receive them. In 2019, these money transfers represented 21.3% of El Salvador’s GDP. For 2020, since the US is registering a historical record of unemployment in sectors where Salvadorans work i.e restaurants, commerce and construction, a drop in remittances of at least 14% is estimated.4

Undoubtedly, the first and most profound manifestation of the economic crisis will be the issue of food. On the subject, David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program recently said, “If we don’t prepare now we could face multiple famines of biblical proportions in a few months.5 Even before the pandemic, 4.4million people in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, were already experiencing an increase in food and nutritional insecurity, and as a result of COVID19 this figure is estimated to double.6

In the specific case of El Salvador, food security has been impacted by distinct factors, from trade liberalization policies that ruined peasant agriculture in previous decades, to the impacts of climate change that in recent years has manifested itself in consecutive and deep droughts. In 2019, the lack of rains left production losses at 61% in corn and 55% in bean crops. The decrease and in some cases the complete loss of these basic crops left many families in crisis, especially those where agriculture is their only source of income. Last year’s drought resulted in 277,769 families, many from the eastern part of the country, experiencing serious food problems.7

Things can get worse because El Salvador depends to a very high degree on food imports; for example, 90% of fruits and vegetables come from other Central American countries and the US. Beef, wheat flour, rice, yellow corn, and dairy are other products that are imported in large quantities. A potentially serious risk is that the producing nations eventually restrict their exports to go and deal with their own reduction in production and to be able to feed their own people. In this sense, it is extremely important to ensure the availability of basic foods, especially for the most vulnerable populations, otherwise malnutrition rates will increase and COVID19 will prove more deadly due to an inadequate access to food.8

At the moment, the Salvadoran government is giving out cash aid to supply the basic needs of one million and a half families, and has also announced a series of economic measures to benefit private companies in order to alleviate the impact on employment. Although positive measures are being taken, they unfortunately are not sustainable because their financing depends on loans and the debt capacity of the Salvadoran state which is reaching its limit.

Everything seems to indicate that the most viable alternative is family agricultural production on a massive scale throughout the entire country. Any available land space, be it in rural or urban, coast or mountain, should be used to produce healthy food, otherwise, in a short period of time, food will become scarce in a really frightening way.


Click here to donate to our COVID19 Emergency fund.


agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, El Salvador Government, Environment, Food Security, Public Health, Uncategorized, Water/Agua

MOVIAC Marches to Promote Agroecology in El Salvador


 

The organizations that make up the Movement of Victims Affected by Climate Change and Corporations (MOVIAC), took to the streets of San Salvador alongside environmental activists to create awareness about the negative impacts the indiscrimate use of Agrochemicals has on the health and safety of El Salvador.

According to MOVIAC, “Agroecology brings together sustainable and ancestral agricultural practices in order to unify the relationship between nature and humans and guarantee food saftey.”

Farmers, families, educators, leaders, young and old, marched together towards the Legislative Assembly to present a proposed law for the promotion of Agroecology, as a way to mitigate the impacts of climate change. They were met by senior government officials on the environmental committee and were able to submit the documents.

 


 

LEER MÁS↓

Diariocolatino: Propuesta de Ley de Fomento de la Agroecologia sera Presentada la Semana Proxima
DiarioLibre: Exigen Ley para Impulsar la Agroecologia en El Salvador y Prohibir Pesticidas
Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, Disasters, Environment

Hurricane Michael Affects El Salvador

43299266_2184140331851142_4740851254274555904_o
Imagen por Noticias Menotty

Since last Saturday, El Salvador has been influenced by tropical storm Michael. The storm has caused heavy rains, mainly in the coastal area and northern Morazán, a situation that has led the Civil Protection authorities to issue a Yellow Alert in 31 municipalities in the east of the country and a Green Alert nationwide.

The authorities have reported three people killed, 10 injured, as well as 5 clogged roads, numerous trees knocked down by strong winds, overflowing rivers, landslides, flooded homes and more than 500 people displaced, mainly in the municipality of San Miguel.

Regarding the situation in El Bajo Lempa, considered one of the most vulnerable regions of the country, at the moment the only damage reported is a tree falling in community Octavio Ortiz that caused minor damage to the perimeter fence of the soccer field; nevertheless, the communities have been activated and remain vigilant of the rise and flow of the Lempa River, which is already presenting worrying levels.

Storm Michael has already become a hurricane and it is forecasted that rainstorms will continue intermittently throughout the country, with greater emphasis on the coastal strip, central and western areas. In addition, gusts of wind are expected between 40 and 50 kilometers per hour, especially on the coast.

Among the measures adopted by the government is the activation of the entire civil protection system, at the national level, as well as the suspension of classes for the next 48 hours in all educational centers, both public and private.


IMG-20181008-WA0011
Huracán Michael Afecta a El Salvador

Desde el pasado sábado, El Salvador ha sido influenciado por la tormenta tropical Michael, que ha provocado fuertes lluvias, principalmente en la zona costera y el norte de Morazán. Situación que llevó a las autoridades de Protección Civil a decretar Alerta Amarilla en 31 municipios del oriente del país y Alerta Verde a nivel nacional.

Entre las afectaciones ocurridas, las autoridades informan de tres personas fallecidas, 10 lesionadas, así mismo de 5 carreteras obstruidas, numerosos árboles derribados por los fuertes vientos, ríos desbordados, deslizamientos de tierra, viviendas inundadas y más de 500 personas albergadas, principalmente en el municipio de San Miguel.

Con respecto a la situación en El Bajo Lempa, considerada una de las regiones más vulnerables del país, por el momento el único daño reportado es la caída de un árbol en la comunidad Octavio Ortiz que ocasionó daños menores a la cerca perimetral del campo de fútbol; no obstante, las comunidades se han activado y se mantienen vigilantes del incremento del caudal del Río Lempa, el cual ya presenta niveles preocupantes.

La tormenta Michael ya se ha convertido en huracán y se pronostica que las lluvias de temporal sigan de forma intermitente en todo el país, con mayor énfasis en la franja costera, zona centro y occidente. Además, se esperan ráfagas de viento entre los 40 y 50 kilómetros por hora, sobre todo en la franja costera.

Entre las medidas adoptadas por el gobierno está la activación de todo el sistema de protección civil, a nivel nacional, así como la suspensión de clases por las próximas 48 horas en todos los centros educativos, tanto públicos como privados.

TWEETS: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN)

Agua/Aqua, El Salvador Government

The People Say No to the Privatization of Water in El Salvador

35463900_1985149298184837_1090778155376967680_n
This past week the Salvadoran people led two protests against plans for private corporations to privatize the water of their country. On June 14th, hundreds of students from the National University of El Salvador (UES) -at the bequest of the rector himself- set out at 7:30am to march to the national legislative assembly. That morning, the assembly was holding a plenary session in which right wing representatives and the rich elite were discussing just how they will go about making water a commodity. They men sitting in that room knew exactly that what they were plotting was going against the wishes of the majority of the Salvadoran people.

With the help of three of FMLN representatives, the students peacefully gained access to the steps of the national assembly and intended to request an audience with those handful meeting to discuss the fate of the many. They not only declined but were met with pepper spray and violence.

No apologies were given, in fact, Norman Quijano, the president of the Legislative Assembly, held a press conference where he accused the University’s rector, Roger Arias, of being a terrorist.

This past Saturday, an estimated 10,000 took to the streets for a massive protest where the message was clear “The people say no to the Privatization of water in El Salvador.” This protest began and ended peacefully and included all sectors of Salvadoran society.


VIDEO (en español)

Privatizing is nothing new for the right-wing elite in El Salvador, who have since 1991, privatized the banking system, the telephonic system and pensions. None of these have come with guarantees, transparency or benefits to the Salvadoran poor and working class. It is not an ideology but the evidence: privatization in El Salvador has ruined more than it has built.

To those in control, water privatization is the final step in gaining full economic control and due to past legislative election, unfortunately it may come to fruition, but not without a full resistance from the Salvadoran population who may still have the ability to upset this diabolical decision if the pressure is constant.

READ OUR REPORT ON WATER AS A HUMAN RIGHT IN EL SALVADOR

#NoALaPrivatizacionDelAgua

agriculture, Agua/Aqua, Climate Change, Environment

Celebrating our Earth

Versión Español

Every April 22, International Earth Day is celebrated. It is an opportune occasion to reflect on what is happening to our planet and raise awareness about the need to drastically change paradigms and individual and collective behaviors that devastate the earth.

The earth is our common home and its evolution made it possible for life to emerge. The ozone layer and the earth’s magnetic field block harmful solar radiation, while the atmosphere retains enough solar energy for a climate and a temperature suitable for life, likewise water and the existence of diverse physical and chemical processes make possible the life of animals and plants, which interact in a dynamic and sustainable equilibrium.

The scientific community estimates that there are 8.7 million species on the planet, of which only 1.3 million have been recorded, which means that approximately 86% of terrestrial species and 91% of marine species are not yet known. Human life depends on this biological richness; nevertheless, human beings are the only species that is causing its extinction. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 5,200 species of vertebrate animals are in serious danger of disappearing.

One of the main reasons for this loss of species is deforestation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between the years 1990 and 2016, 129 million hectares of forest have been removed. The main reason is large-scale commercial agriculture, which accounts for 40% of deforestation worldwide and 70% in Latin America. Mining and urban expansion are other significant causes.

In addition to industrial agriculture, there is the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Currently, some 5,000 million tons of toxic pesticides are manufactured and used each year, which directly contributes to the contamination of ecosystems and the extinction of species, such as bees. A European study carried and published by the organization Greenpeace indicates that two thirds of the pollen collected by bees is contaminated by insecticides, acaricides, fungicides and herbicides marketed by the companies Bayern, Syngenta and BASF; causing the death of millions of hives.

Bees are essential for human life, according to the FAO, there are 100 species of crops that supply 90% of the world’s food and bees pollinate more than 70% of them. They also pollinate more than 25,000 species of flowering plants. Without these insects, agricultural activity would practically disappear, generating catastrophic consequences.

Another way how human beings deteriorate the earth is through the generation and inappropriate disposal of an impressive amount of solid waste. The United Nations Environment Program (PNMA) establishes that in the world, between 7,000 and 10,000 million tons of garbage are produced per year, and that a large part of this is not properly disposed, causing a serious problem of environmental contamination and public health.

The burning of fossil fuels is another form of environmental pollution that negatively impacts worldwide health and together with forest degradation, increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, causing a dangerous climate change that has already claimed thousands of lives and seriously threatens the existence of the human species.

What happens to the earth happens to its people so if we want our planet to remain a habitable place it is necessary that we all assume the responsibility of caring for it.


gn-gift_guide_variable_c
EL DIA DE LA TIERRA

Cada 22 de abril se celebra el Día Internacional de la Tierra, ocasión oportuna para reflexionar sobre lo que está pasando a nuestro planeta y generar consciencia sobre la necesidad de cambiar drásticamente paradigmas y comportamientos individuales y colectivos de devastan la tierra.

La tierra es nuestro hogar común y su evolución hizo posible que surgiera la vida. La capa de ozono y el campo magnético terrestre bloquean la radiación solar dañina, mientras que la atmósfera retiene la energía solar suficiente para un clima y una temperatura idónea para la vida, así mismo el agua y la existencia de diversos procesos físicos y químicos hacen posible la vida de animales y vegetales, que interactúan en un equilibrio dinámico y sustentable.

La comunidad científica estima que en el planeta existen 8.7 millones de especies, de las cuales apenas han sido registradas 1.3 millones, lo que significa que aproximadamente el 86% de las especies terrestres y el 91% de las marinas aún no se conocen. La vida del ser humano depende de esta riqueza biológica; no obstante, el ser humano es la única especie que está provocando su extinción. Según la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, UICN 5.200 especies de animales vertebrados se encuentran en grave peligro de desaparecer.

Una de las razones principales de esta pérdida de especies es la deforestación, de acuerdo a la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación, FAO entre los años 1990 y 2016 se han eliminado 129 millones de hectáreas de bosque, siendo la principal responsable la agricultura comercial a gran escala, que origina el 40% de la deforestación a nivel del planeta y el 70% en América Latina; la minería y la expansión urbana son otras de las causas importantes.

Aunado a la agricultura industrial está el uso indiscriminado de plaguicidas, en la actualidad se fabrican y emplean cada año unas 5,000 millones de toneladas de plaguicidas tóxicos, lo que repercute directamente en la contaminación de los ecosistemas y en la extinción de especies, como por ejemplo las abejas. Un análisis realizado a escala europea publicado por la organización Greenpeace señala que dos terceras partes del polen recolectado por las abejas está contaminado por insecticidas, acaricidas, fungicidas y herbicidas comercializados por las compañías Bayern, Syngenta y Basf. Lo que está provocando la muerte de millones de colmenas.

Las abejas son imprescindibles para la vida del ser humano, de acuerdo a la FAO, existen 100 especies de cultivos que abastecen el 90% de los alimentos del mundo, las abejas polinizan más del 70% de ellos. También, polinizan más de 25.000 especies de plantas con flores. Sin estos insectos la actividad agrícola prácticamente desaparecería, generando consecuencias catastróficas.

Otra forma de cómo el ser humano deteriora la tierra es mediante la generación y disposición inapropiada de una impresionante cantidad de desechos sólidos, al respecto el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente, PNMA establece que en el mundo se producen entre 7,000 y 10,000 millones de toneladas de basura por año y que una gran parte de esta no se dispone adecuadamente, provocando un serio problema de contaminación ambiental y de salud pública.

La quema de combustibles fósiles es otra forma de contaminación ambiental que impacta negativamente en la salud de la población, pero que además junto a la degradación forestal, aumentan la concentración de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera, provocando un peligroso cambio climático que ya ha cobrado miles de vidas y amenaza seriamente la existencia del ser humano.

Lo que le sucede a la tierra, le sucede a las personas, si nos interesa que nuestro planeta siga siendo un lugar habitable es necesario que todos asumamos la responsabilidad de cuidarlo.