A stark choice for some Guatemalans: watch crops wither, and maybe die with them, or migrate.

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, June 6, 2019

Climate change is driving the migration from Guatemala to the U.S.

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  1. Robert Forster
    Robert Forster says:

    I lived in the area along the Honduras-Guatemala border as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1971 to 1973, and I’m writing a book about that experience. I did an energy case study for the region in the late ’70s. It’s an interesting topic and I do believe it when I hear “food doesn’t grow here any more.” I suffered through a drought with the people of Antigua Ocotepeque in 1972. Periodic droughts are a large part of the landscape there, going back to the Maya. Reading Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse” sounded so right, so familiar to me, that the collapse of the Maya Classic period around 900 AD was due to a series of droughts, exacerbated by growing population densities of the area (Copan, Quirigua), slash and burn agriculture and the resulting degradation of the soil, and the resulting political unrest from lack of food and water. It appears that the area is subject to periodic lapses in rainfall. The people moved away from their cities, never to return. What I’m saying is NOT that the drought in that region is something that happens cyclically anyway, and that it isn’t part of the climate change we are experiencing in the modern era. What I am saying is that region seems to be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” and that it indeed may be another indication of what climate change has in store for us.

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