Bolivia -- Our Canary for Climate Change?
Some people continue to deny climate change. While those numbers are decreasing, many just don't want to hear what is obviously bad news. The most common way we deny that such a thing is happening is by picking some statistics that show, in a particular place on the planet, everything is "functioning within normal parameters". (An expression of Lt. Commander Data of ST:TNG.)
An article titled Bolivia: Life at the extreme edge of climate change tells us why Bolivia is the climate equivalent of a canary in a coal mine. That is, Bolivia is more sensitive to what is a global issue than, say, Miami. As for Nicaragua, having Lake Nicaragua is an important buffer but not a long-term solution.
Bolivians live with the suspenseful effects of climate change every single day. In recent years, Bolivia has suffered from extreme climate, heavier-than-ever rainfalls that have cascaded mountainsides crashing onto entire villages, severe frosts, and intense, scorching droughts. Rising temperatures are causing the glaciers to melt ever-faster. Dr. Edson Ramirez, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, has studied Andean ice caps for 20 years. He says temperatures in the high Andes have been accelerating since 1975, and entire glaciers he monitors like Chacaltaga Glacier (18,000 years old) have disappeared right before his eyes, disappearing for the first time in millennia.