By TIM RATH.
The dramatic effects of climate change in Peru are not simply changing the lives of native rural populations any longer.
Danish model and photographer Helena Christensen traveled with the humanitarian organization Oxfam International to witness and document the effects of global warming on Peru’s poorest residents. Christensen, who is half-Peruvian, said that her time in Peru has been a life-changing experience.
“I know there are extreme problems going on in the world with the climate changes, but to actually be there and to meet the people that are suffering themselves has been incredibly valuable for me,” she said.
Christensen has documented her trip to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Peru’s rural communities with a photographic series that will be shown in New York, Washington, London at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in her homeland of Denmark Dec. 7. A film version of the voyage, shot by director Richard Bullock, will also be shown.
“We immediately set out to visit some remote areas near glaciers in the mountains. [Farmers] are basically planting many, many twigs in the ground and hoping for a turnout of two million new trees that they can plant in a very huge areas,” Christensen said. “They have been planting eucalyptus trees, but that drains the earth of extreme amount of waters as compared to other trees, which leads to great problems.”
“Climate change in Peru is already devastating and we welcome Helena’s commitment to show this to the rest of the world. Peru is on the front line of climate change, along with other developing countries, which have played little part in causing the problem,” said Frank Boeren, Oxfam’s coordinator in Peru.
“Humans are using nature in all the wrong ways. We have to act out, as one people and put pressure on our governments,” Christensen said. “We’ve been living here as civilization for 11,000 years but it’s only taken us 100 years since industrialization to destroy the natural balance of the world.”