Year 3, Month 8, Day 2: “…the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

The Kansas City Star runs a McClatchy intern’s story on climate change’s effects on a place nobody will ever visit:

AYALOMA, Ecuador — Frosts aren’t on time for the 960 people living in this tiny, remote village, hidden on a chilly, windswept mountain ridge in South America.

A minor problem? Maybe for some. But in the Andean community, 8,800 feet above sea level, frosts – and their impact on crop cycles – are kind of a big deal.

In this agricultural community, crops are planted during the full moon, a tradition meant to help ensure a full harvest. But these days, the harvests aren’t as full.

Village residents say it’s the mark of climate change descending upon the Ayaloman people.

“In Ecuador, we’ve really experienced a sudden change in our climate,” said Ana Loja, a professor at the University of Cuenca, in the Andes of southern Ecuador. “We cannot say, ‘Maybe this is not happening,’ but I think everyone is aware it is a real problem.”

It’s always the Other what feels the blow. Sent July 22:

A strong human-interest element is essential to good reporting, and Annika McGinnis’ report on climate change’s impact on a tiny village in Central America is a wonderful example. The story of how these tough mountain people are coping with a radically changing world makes for compelling reading.

But that’s not all there is to news. Ms. McGinnis’ article needs to make the connection to the lives of readers in the United States. For too long, climate change has been the problem of an unspecified “other”, only affecting people and nations far from our own. As Midwest heatwaves and Colorado wildfires make clear, the impact of the burgeoning greenhouse effect is not the exclusive province of the Third World; the climatic consequences of a century-long carbon binge are no respecters of national boundaries. The industrialized West will soon have more in common with Ayaloma’s residents than we can presently imagine.

Warren Senders

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