I just got home from an eco-justice study trip in Peru. The environmental issues were aplenty. The glaciers in the Andes that provide water for much of Peru are expected to disappear in 15-20 years. The arid coastal region and the mountains are in conflict over the remaining water, while the alpaca farmers in the mountains are already feeling the effects of climate change. A US-owned smelter in La Oroya pollutes so much that children in the town have toxic levels of lead in their blood. The mountains surrounding the town are bare for miles and the river runs orange from the mining and smelter pollution.
But there is also good news – many local groups are working on eco-justice issues, with help from the Joining Hands Network (part of the Presbyterian Hunger Program). We visited with many resilient and amazing people who told us about efforts to increase access to clean water in the coastal region, train women in sustainable industries, guide farmers to organic techniques, and help the children of La Oroya. As I reflect more on this eye-opening trip, I will post more. To learn more about eco-justice issues in Peru and what the Joining Hands Network is working on, read their newsletter.