The relationships between places and past events shape human identity and provide memories that are a reservoir of pain and joy; they connect the chain of time between past and future. In addition to other characteristics, my place of birth, beliefs and ethnic roots all constitute a part of my identity.
Built by American artist Robert Smithson over six days during a drought in 1970, ‘Spiral Jetty’, a 1,500 foot long (460 meter) and 15 feet wide (4.6 meter) counterclockwise coil made of basalt rock and earth, juts from the shore into the pinkish colored waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
Ashokan is one of the 19 reservoirs that supply 1 billion gallons of fresh water to the City of NewYork every day.
“If it materializes as planned, the Omo could be emptied in its entirety, which would mean that Lake Turkana might be destined to become Africa’s Aral Sea.”
The Turkana herdsmen, who live a semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, struggle to cope with the harsh consequences of climate change in the arid northwestern tip of Kenya. Due to the reoccurring and prolonged drought grazing land in the region is diminishing leaving little to support the Turkana tribes.
The Inanda Dam was constructed in 1987 to provide Durban with drinking water. Heavy storms caused the nearly completed dam to fill prematurely, driving hundreds of families to run for their lives. By being forced to leave behind their land and livestock, many lost the only means to sustain themselves. Never compensated for their loss, these impoverished families continue to live in temporary shelters that were provided by the government twenty-six years earlier.
“We have similar amounts of plastic particles in the sediment of the lake’s ecosystem as we find in marine ecosystems.”
It was exactly a year ago when Eleuterio García Rojas was killed in front of the city hall of the small Andean town of Celendin. He was an innocent bystander caught between the angry crowd protesting against a proposed open-cast gold mine and the government security forces. He was one of three killed during the protest. The following day Peru’s president would declare a state of emergency in the region’s three provinces.
“The peasant squads used to be worried about petty crimes – a stolen cow and things like that – but now they are defending our land and water from multinational companies”
By damming a natural stream in the early Middle Ages a system of lakes were created to serve as a natural defense line and to provide water to the city in the event of an attack. Later, for centuries, the lakes served as reservoirs providing drinking water to Copenhagen.
Samples are sent to laboratories, which analyse levels of certain types of bacteria that could indicate the presence of pollution, primarily from sewerage or livestock waste.
We came here to the alpine wetlands of the Peruvian Andes to meet Maxima Acuna de Chaupe who has lived next to the lagoon, Laguna Azul, with her family for the past 25 years. Her property became part of the proposed Conga mine and ever since she has been in a fierce fight with the ‘new owners’ who would do just about anything to drive her off this land. As she was away visiting officials in the city of Cajamarca to discuss the latest developments over the disputed land her son Daniel greeted us in front of their tiny adobe home.
The Yanacocha goldmine was named after the lake that had since been destroyed by the company after the operation started twenty years ago. Up to date the mine produced over $7 billion worth of gold for its Denver, Colorado based owners, destroyed over 250 square kilometers alpine wetland, poisoned over a thousand Peruvian people with mercury, and contaminated lakes and streams with cyanide and other acidic runoffs.
“Vital stories pertaining to the environment, natural resources, food safety, fisheries and oceans are not coming out in Canada because, for several years now, the government has imposed rules which prevents its scientists from speaking freely about their publicly funded research”
The scientists say the decision to shut down the ELA has more to do with ideology than economics and that it will do incalculable damage to their ability to preserve the quality of this country’s most valuable asset – its water.
“Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment”
The world still exists although the over five thousand-year-old Mayan calendar has officially ended. To be honest I wasn’t really surprised since my friends in New Zealand had safely passed the doomsday deadline while I went to bed halfway around the globe.
Not everyone expected this day to be our last. Some interpreted it as the beginning of a new world rather than the end of it, others saw it as an opportunity for a global shift in awareness, a transformation in consciousness.