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Reflections on climate change from Bolivia

29 January 2015 | by Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán

Like so many countries around the world, Bolivia is suffering the devastating impacts of climate change.

Last year, the Bolivian Amazon flooded as never before. It rained incessantly from January to April 2014. These are thought to be the worst rains in 40 years.

At least 350,000 people had to leave their homes and for several weeks 60,000 children were unable to go to school. 

Local people did their best, gathering food, medicines and other supplies for those hit by the floods. But communities aren’t equipped to fully deal with the effects of such a disaster.

A woman stands in front of a mountain range in Bolivia

Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán, President of our partner Fundación Solón.

Governments dodging responsibilities

While we can't say for certain that these floods specifically relate to climate change, we know that more extreme and erratic weather patterns are a direct consequence of climate change.

We need to realise that fossil fuels are not the answer to our needs, but the cause of our problems.

We all know someone who thinks climate change is a bit of a farce - ‘it’s just natural cycles’, they claim!

Statements like these can be catastrophic for countries like mine, because they give governments and other powerful bodies an excuse to dodge their responsibility to respond to this global crisis.

We must change the way we live

My experience of climate change in Bolivia has taught me that we need to:

• campaign against climate change, because short-term fixes aren’t enough

• include local communities so that we get a response informed by local technical knowledge

• move away from using fossil fuels and seek green energy solutions instead.

Climate change threatens every single one of us, and communities around the world – including thousands of people in Bolivia – are already being affected by it.

We must come together and say no to climate change and yes to a future where people no longer fear dramatic floods and terrible droughts.

We will need discipline, creativity and a willingness to challenge established ideas if we are to successfully confront this truly global emergency.

Act now >Please call on our politicians to take action on climate change.

Find out more

Read more from our partners about climate change

Solidarity to fight climate change - Voltaire Alferez, environmental campaigner from the Philippines, reflects on the Hunger for Justice weekend

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