Environment

The Andes are melting, and what are we doing about it?

The imperious Andes region is home to 10 percent of the world's population, but melting glaciers could dramatically transform the area forever

View of two hikers climbing up Tronador hill and glacier Castaño Overo in the Andes mountains in Patagonia Argentina. Photo: Gonzalo de Miceu/Shutterstock
View of two hikers climbing up Tronador hill and glacier Castaño Overo in the Andes mountains in Patagonia Argentina. Photo: Gonzalo de Miceu/Shutterstock

The Andes mountain range consists of a 9,000-kilometer belt of peaks that extend from Venezuela all the way down to Patagonia, making it the longest continental range in the world. The wider Andean region is home to around 10 percent of the global population, and according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) it is the source of between 60 and 80 percent of the planet’s freshwater.

But the mountains are at risk, with climate change and forest degradation causing many of the icy peaks to melt. And, if nothing is done, some Andean regions could experience...

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