Peru Is Using Art to Change the Climate Change Debate

Happening alongside the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change is an event in Peru that is connecting locals with artists to make nature inspired work. While politicians at the UN are debating the future of our planet artists will be reframing the debate for others using art in rural Peru. The event will culminate in an exhibition from December 3, 2014 through January 9, 2015 at the Lima Musuem of Contemporary Art.

Over the course of ten days in October, HAWAPI 2014 will take a group of approximately 20 artists, researchers, organizers and local community members 13,000 feet above sea level to the Peruvian glacial mountain range, Pariacaca, where they will build an off-grid tented basecamp for sleeping, eating and working and relying on solar panels for electricity. Residents will be supported by indigenous llama herders who will act as camp staff, artist collaborators and assistants, and whose herd will serve as pack animals to help carry supplies to the residency location. Camping and working close to the glacier and leaving as little environmental impact as possible, the group of artists and locals will create a series of site-specific interventions, murals and performances to be left as a permanent installation. The hope is for these environmentally-inspired works to have the potential to encourage audiences to deepen their understanding and expand their perspective on issues related to climate change and their impact on the region and world at large.

Check it out here.

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A Billboard That Finally Has a Reason to Exist: Free Water

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In Lima, Peru, there is a new billboard that is selling an idea by providing free water to the local population. Water access is an issue in the area for a variety of reasons which impacts poverty and other water-related issues in the area. A local engineering school wanted to show potential new students what impact they can have on their country and chose to make a billboard a functional piece of infrastructure with simple engineering.

Usually when billboards are mentioned on this site it’s because they are being banned or taxed more to fund city beautification projects. It’s nice to be able to show a billboard that does something out of the ordinary to improve people’s lives.

“We wanted future students to see how engineers can also solve social needs in daily basis kinds of situations,” said Alejandro Aponte, creative director at Mayo DraftFCB.

The city’s residents could certainly use the help. According to a 2011 The Independent piece ominously titled “The desert city in serious danger of running dry,” about 1.2 million residents of Lima lack running water entirely, depending on unregulated private-company water trucks to deliver the goods — companies that charge up to 30 soles (US $10) per cubic meter of H2O, or as The Independent notes, 20 times what more well-off residents pay for their tapwater.

Read more here.

Thanks to Kathryn!

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Peru bans GMO foods

Due to the unknown effects that genetically modified plants can have and the intellectual property issues around them (basically Monsanto sues everyone), Peru has joined other counties in banning GMO foods. This good to see since there are so many unknowns around growing and consuming GMO products.

Peru has said “no” to genetically modified foods — a 10-year ban on GMO foods takes effect this week. Peru’s ban on GMO foods prohibits the import, production and use of genetically modified foods. The law is aimed at safeguarding the country’s agricultural diversity and preventing cross-pollination with non-GMO crops. It will also help protect Peruvian exports of organic products.

Peru isn’t the first country to ban GMO foods or place restrictions on their use. Earlier this year, Russia suspended imports of Monsanto’s GMO corn after a French study linked the corn to cancer; France also has a temporary ban on the corn. Ireland has banned the growing of GMO crops since 2009. Japan and Egypt also ban the cultivation of GMO crops. In 2010, Switzerland extended a moratorium on genetically modified animals and plants, banning GMOs until 2013.

Read more here.

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CUSO-VSO Looking for More Adult Volunteers

CUSO is a Canadian-based non-profit that sends people oversees as volunteers to help the developing world. Recently as a drive to get more adults to help them out (you know you want to) they have produced a couple videos to show their work.

Every year, around 120,000 young Peruvians join the ranks of those who are neither studying nor employed. There just isn’t enough work, and many can’t afford schooling.

But despite the obstacles that life puts before them, many youth in San Juan de Miraflores — a poor neighbourhood of Lima, Peru — are creating a better future for themselves and their families.

Three youth and a Canadian volunteer involved in an innovative Youth Employment Centre in San Juan agreed to tell their stories.

‘Jacky’s Story’ is the first of three videos following youth and volunteers involved in the Centros de Jovenes y Empleo. The centre is a collaboration of CUSO-VSO, the Quebec NGO Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi de l’Outaouais, and the Peruvian NGO Kallpa.

If you’re not Canadian, and many readers aren’t, perhaps there is an organization in your country similar to CUSO-VSO.

Link to CUSO-VSO

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Peru Planting Trees Like Crazy

Peru has a great program that is designed to combat climate change – they’re planting 512,820 tress per day on average.

Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture has decided to single handedly attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change using a nation-wide tree planting project.

The campaign began on 13th December, and aims to have 40 million trees planted by 20th February.

Forty million trees in three months. That’s the same as 512,820 trees per day. Which is a lot of tree planting.

A workforce of 130,000 people, in fact, with each person planting an average 4.5 trees per day.

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