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Spotlight: Charting the Effects of Climate Change from Peru to Cape Town

By David Schonauer   Wednesday August 1, 2018


In Peru, a man keeps watch on a glacier lake, day and night.

His name is Juan Victor Morales Moreno, and his job is to monitor Lake Palcachoca (elevation 14,967 feet) in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, a short distance below his stone hut.

“All of Moreno’s attention is focused on the Palcaraju and Pucarana glaciers, which hang ominously 600 meters above the lake’s glassy surface. The 25,000 Huaraz residents who live inside the so-called mudslide risk zone depend on the stability of these glaciers,” notes Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo in an ambitious multimedia project reporting on the affects of climate change around the world.

Lake Palcachoca became the subject of international attention after a local resident filed a lawsuit against the German energy company RWE, requesting that the company pay roughly $20,000 of the estimated $4 million cost of a project to ensure the safety and integrity of the lake. The $20,000 figure was based on a recent study that determined RWE was responsible for 0.47 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1854.

The report in Folha de São Paulo, which also looked at climate change issues in Cape Town, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Panama, Portugal, the Arctic, and other locations, included video reports, several of which we feature today. Photographs and video for the projects was done by PPD reader Lalo Almeida, a photographer and filmmaker based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“It was hard work, with hard choices throughout,” says Almeida of the project, which includes the use of drone footage.

CLIMATE CRISIS: Peru


After catastrophic mudslides killed nearly 2,000 people in 1941, only 500,000 cubic meters of water — the equivalent of about 200 Olympic swimming pools — remained in Lake Palcachoca. With the continuous melting of the Palcaraju and Pucaranra glaciers, this volume has grown by a factor of 34.


2. CLIMATE CHANGE: Puerto Rico

 


In the wake of Hurricane Maria, some 500,000 people are expected to leave Puerto Rico. “Hurricanes gain strength and size over warmer water, and average sea temperatures have been on the rise with global climate change,” notes Folha de São Paulo.


CLIMATE CRISS: Panama

 

Destructive tidal surges and human overpopulation are forcing Panama’s indigenous peoples to abandon their islands.


The special report by Folha de São Paulo was based on an award-winning multimedia project by Almeida and other journalists that looked at walls around the world, including the border wall between the U.S.A. and Mexico. See it below.

Lalo Almeida, whose work has been featured in the World Press Photo competition, was born in Brazil and studied photography at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan. He began his career  as a photojournalist for small agencies in Milan; later, he worked for the Grazia Neri agency, covering domestic and international events such the war in the former Yugoslavia. Back in Brazil, he worked for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo and the weekly news magazine Veja. He has worked for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo for 16 years.

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