Tuesday 31 January 2012

Aluna the Movie | Homepage

The Kogi tribe from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain in Columbia were in a documentary made by Alan Ereira entitled From The Heart of the World. It was shown back in 1990 and the Kogi gave a warning to the world that ecological disaster would happen unless we changed our ways. They have made a follow-up film entitled Aluna which will be screened in 2012.

The Kogi call themselves the "Elder Brother" and the rest of the world they refer to as the "Younger Brother". They believe they are the spiritual guardians of the planet and that our ways have put it in danger of ecological disaster. The Younger Brother failed to listen to their warning. The Kogi Mamas, who are the spiritual leaders or shamans of the tribe, had warned that we must stop mining, cutting down forests, drilling in the ground, creating dams, and other developments that are destroying the environment, but their warning has not been heeded.

The Kogi Mamas are experts in determining the health of the ecosystem they live in, and not only where they are but for the whole world. They could see that Climate Change was robbing the mountain peaks of the snow and ice that should be there. Without the water that comes from the melting snow and from the rains that the clouds bring they know that all life will die.

The Kogi believe that the world will come to an end unless the Younger Brother changes his ways and soon. Because they are so worried about the state of the planet they have agreed to make this second film to explain their views about the extreme environmental danger that has been created.

Aluna the Movie | Homepage

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Death on Mt Teide

Dead and dying vegetation on Mt Teide 11 January 2012

A dramatic title to grab your attention but I mean death to plants and probably animals too in the ongoing drought Tenerife is suffering! The higher reaches of Mt Teide, the highest mountain in Spain are normally covered in snow at this time of year and the island has usually had heavy rain from November onwards but not this time. Mt Teide did not receive is normal coating of white glistening snow that can be usually counted on for the winter and spring months. Something has gone very wrong!

The unique scrub-land vegetation that grows on Mt Teide is adapted to heat and cold and drought in summer but expects to get plenty of moisture in the autumn and winter. This year it has had very little and is dying or dead. It is brown and tinder dry and crumbles to dust. In turn insects that depend on the vegetation and lizards and birds that feed on them are deprived of a vital link in the food chain. There are usually many Canary Blue butterflies and honeybees that feed on the nectar from the wild flowers and flowering shrubs up on Mt Teide but if there are no such flowers they will have no food and will probably die.

Lower down the mountain there is usually a sea of clouds that bring much needed moisture to the pines, laurels and other trees and plants but even the sea of clouds has gone.

This could spell disaster for farmers. Most of the water for the island falls as snow and rain on the mountains. We need heavy rains and fast to save the ecosystem of Tenerife.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

How does Global Warming affect Tenerife?

Wilting Prickly Pear cactus

Global Warming or Climate Change, as it is now often called, though I prefer the former term, is making its presence felt here in Tenerife where clear skies and hot sunshine are drying up the land and causing plants as tough as Prickly Pear cacti to shrivel and wilt.

Wilted and curled up House-leek (Aeonium urbicum

Succulent House-leeks (Aeonium species) which should be at their best now and getting ready to flower or already doing so are suffering the same problem. Many House-leeks are curling up their leaves in an effort to conserve moisture. They should be fleshy and green not reddened and dried up with curling leaves.
Usually by January we have had plenty of torrential rainfall in November and December that falls as snow high up on Mt Teide. Often the mountain's peak is covered in glistening white over the Christmas period and for the months afterwards but not this winter.
Usually in late autumn and winter the countryside springs to live and brown and barren semi-desert land and volcanic mountainsides get covered in green vegetation but not so this season. Ponds, of which there is a great shortage on Tenerife, are drying up not filling up. Those in the village of Erjos that normally fill in winter with enough to last them through until the following autumn's rains are looking more like they do at the end of summer.
So what does all this mean? Well, for tourists the hot sunshine is what they come here for so they will not be complaining but for farmers and for wildlife it is an ecological disaster. Rainfall in autumn and winter is essential for the success of crops and in recent years many farmers have lost their grape crops despite winter rains. Drought in summer is far more to be expected than drought in January!
Tenerife really needs some thunderstorms and as much torrential rain as possible over the rest of this month and February or I dread to think how the island will get through this. Some people still don't believe Global Warming is really happening but I think the state of the countryside in Tenerife shows that it most certainly is!

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.