75° W, Peru

Longitudinal Installation by Xavier Cortada

“I tell my wife the day that mountain loses its snow, we will have to move out of the valley.”

— Jose Ignacio Lambarri, farmer, Urubamba Valley Peruvian man farmer

Jose Ignacio is a corn farmer located in Peru in the Urubamba Valley. Peru is a developing country with many like Jose Ignacio who make their living from and live on the land. He and all farmers in the valley depend on water sourced and acquired from glaciers, the main pillar in the country, for agriculture, drinking water, and as a reserve for droughts.

The Peruvian Andes are home to 92 percent of glaciers in the tropics. Due to their tropical location, these glaciers are extremely sensitive to changes in climate and have been reported to be speedily melting since the 1980s. For individuals like Jose Ignacio, he is affected enormously by this as he has to divide and manage water with his neighbors in order to grow crops which is becoming increasingly difficult with each consecutive year.

Climate change makes it impossible for glaciers to survive in new, changing conditions not to mention the ways the El Niño and La Niña weather currents impact the globe. The glaciers continue to melt today at a tremendously fast pace, so much so that locals report their landscapes looking nothing like before. Because of this, there is an increased risk of other natural hazards like flood waves caused by glacial lake outbursts, dam breaks, and the emptying of glacier lakes. The Peruvian Andes glaciers are vital to the whole country and its stability, but as this becomes a greater and more extreme issue, as paradoxical as it seems, Peru has plans to turn to oil resources to survive. If conditions continue like this, the beautiful Peruvian glaciers will be no longer in the guidebooks but instead in history books.