2009-10-09
Altered Climate Forces Cultural Shift High in Andes. By Barbara Fraser, Daily Climate, October 5 2009. "At more than 15,000 feet above sea level, it is easy to understand why Andean people have long worshiped the elements that allow them to survive in this harsh climate... The problem of the melting of the glaciers is that the source of life is drying up…the vanishing glaciers may still signal the end of the world as the Quechua farmers know it. 'If the snow disappears, the people will disappear, too,' says Rev. Antonio S├ínchez-Guardamino, the Catholic priest in Ocongate, who has also worked among remote Andean communities for decades. 'If the snow disappears, we will be left without water. The pastures and the animals will disappear. Everything is interconnected. The problem of the melting of the glaciers is that the source of life is drying up.' Andean farmers struggle to understand the changes. Some say the mountains are turning black because they are angry or sad. Some blame pollution. Carmina Sicusta has another explanation. 'The earth itself is sick,' she says."

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