Twelve years ago this month, in April 2000, Bolivia drew worldwide attention due to the Cochabamba Water Revolt – a battle over who would control water: the people or a giant global corporation. Today the people of Bolivia are again at the center of a struggle over water, this one with even deeper implications for the nation’s future. Today the struggle is not over who will control water but whether some areas will have any water at all. Global climate change threatens Bolivia’s natural water systems like no threat that has ever come before. Today with this newsletter the Democracy Center launches a major new project to help people around the world understand in a much more real and direct way the impact that climate change is having on water – and what that means for people: Climate Change is About…Water.
[Update: We are very happy to announce that the Spanish version of this new project is also now available!]
Far too often today, the crisis of global climate change is dismissed as something abstract, distant or off in the future. The people of Bolivia do not have that luxury. In Bolivia, as in many other “early impact” nations around the world, climate change is real, immediate and urgent. That urgency can be found most intensely in the crisis over water. Or three crises actually: droughts, floods and melting glaciers.
Think of it like this. For thousands of years the planet’s water system has been relatively stable and civilizations have settled themselves accordingly. We live in some places and not in others based on water. We build houses in certain ways, grow food in certain ways and organize our lives in certain ways all based on expectations about how the world’s natural water systems behave. Climate change is rearranging that whole system in radical ways – and over the quick course of a few generations, not millennia. In few places are the disastrous effects of this more on display than in Bolivia.
To capture this story in a powerful and visual way the Democracy Center team has created a new microsite, Climate Change is About…Water. Here is some of what you’ll find there:
What happens when the rains don’t stop? We visit the city of Quillacollo and see how chronic flooding brings sewage into some homes, destroys others, and wrecks the lives and dreams of those who live in the water’s relentless path.
Bolivia’s Chacaltaya glacier was once the highest ski resort in the world. Now the glacier is melted and gone and never coming back. What happens to the villages beneath a glacier when it disappears – and what happens to the vast urban center that depends on threatened glaciers for their drinking water?
Climate Change is About…Water bring you images and interviews with the people living on the front lines of the climate and water crisis. If you are interested in deepening your own understanding of what climate change means, or if you are an educator looking for a way to help students understand this crisis in a clear and meaningful way, have a look. If you are an activist, journalist or a researcher looking for something in-depth, you can dig even deeper into a resource full of original research as well as links to further information.
This new multimedia site is the start of several new climate projects the Democracy Center will be rolling out over the coming months, looking both at what climate change means and also what we, as citizens, can actually do about it. Stay tuned to this newsletter for more in the months ahead and also to the Democracy Center’s main Climate and Democracy page.
The Democracy Center
What’s New in ‘Getting Action’?
What you might have missed recently on Getting Action, the Democracy Center’s global blog on citizen action and advocacy. Have a look here or via the article links below for the latest!
Interview with Emily James – Doing It Justice: In the first in our new ‘Campaigning Creatives’ series we interview the director of climate direct action documentary ‘Just Do It’
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