July 4, 2016

Abstract: Climate Change in Latin America: Inequality, Conflict, and Social Movements of Adaptation by Andrea Santelices Spikin and Jorge Rojas Hernández

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Climate Change in Latin America:  Inequality, Conflict, and Social Movements of Adaptation 
by Andrea Santelices Spikin and Jorge Rojas Hernández

Climate change is the gravest and most complex problem impacting the planet and its people in the twenty-first century. For thousands of years the Earth’s temperature has remained within a range that makes human life possible in a biodiverse ecosystem of interdependent species. Since the dawn of the industrial era we have seen increasing alteration in temperatures as a consequence of global warming, provoked by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the fossil energy usage that has characterized the so-called Anthropocene Era. We have gone from an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 280 parts per million in the preindustrial era (reference year 1750) to around 400 parts per million in 2015, and that has produced an increase in mean temperature.
Life is produced and reproduced in a system, to a large extent self-regulated, composed of interdependent interrelations of living and dynamic ecosystems that are permanently being transformed, especially when they reach points or moments of saturation at a certain stage of tension due to contradictory development. The human being is only one of the Earth’s inhabitants, but its exercise of rationality (especially in the modern age) permits it to alter the reproductive movements of the biosphere (the layer extending from 10 kilometers above the Earth’s surface to the depths of the oceans in which all life is concentrated [Ripa, 2011: 50–51]), sometimes violently and eventually beyond the biosphere’s ability to cope.

James Lovelock (2006: 5–6) points out that scientists did not acknowledge the Earth as a self-regulating entity until the Amsterdam Declaration of 2001 and that many of them “still . . . cling to their nineteenth- and twentieth-century view . . . of a planet made of dead inert rock with abundant life aboard, passengers on its journey through space and time.” He continues:
Even if we …


Latin American Perspectives
July 2016 vol. 43 no. 4 Abstract, pages 4-11

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