2030 SDGs

Shrinking glaciers upend lives across South America

Photo credit: UNEP/Maria Apostolova

For five generations, Héctor Basilio Choquehuanca Poma and his family have lived on the slopes of the imposing Tuni Condoriri mountains in the Bolivian Andes.

In this often-unforgiving land, Basilio’s kin have long made ends meet by raising llamas. But in recent years that work has become tenuous amid the shrinking of local pastures.

The reason for this is still a matter of debate but it’s likely due to a combination of melting glaciers, an important source of water, and other climate change effects, such as warmer air. Basilio says the Tarija Glacier near his home has halved in size since he was a boy.

“We’ve had to reduce the herd and start trout farming instead,” says Basilio, a 64-year-old father of seven.

Read more from this story on UNEP’s website 

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