In an effort to restore Andean glaciers to their former color, a Peruvian inventor is breaking out the paint at 15,000 feet.
Eduardo Gold -- who is not a scientist -- is working with a small crew of Peruvian villagers to mix egg whites, lime and water to make an environmentally friendly whitewash, once again giving the Andes a snowcapped look.
Gold and a team of painters wearing protective suits are clambering over rocks near the now-extinct Chalon Sombrero glacier, which used to irrigate a valley and feed several rivers in the Andean region of Ayacucho in southern Peru. They don't have paintbrushes, so the workers are using jugs to slosh the mixture -- a recipe used since colonial times -- onto the rocks.
Gold's idea had enough merit to win him a $200,000 prize from the World Bank as part of its "100 Ideas to Save the Planet" competition. Gold is waiting for the money to arrive, but he's already started work. He aims to cover three peaks and 173 acres, creating a micro-cooled climate that could conceivably slow the melting of glaciers in the Andes.
Melting glaciers are problematic not only because of the impact on water systems and alpine ecology, but because their white surfaces help the planet stay cool by reflecting sunlight.
This is known as albedo, and it's one of the biggest challenges in climate change study -- the warmer the planet gets, the more ice melts, meaning less sunlight is reflected, meaning things get warmer, and so on. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu has suggested painting rooftops white to increase albedo in certain regions.
Gold says he has studied glaciology and hopes his efforts will spur glaciers to return to the region. He says a cooling effect might spur the growth of small glaciers, which could make the air cooler, encouraging more glaciation, and so on.
Some scientists and politicians have dismissed this idea, however -- Peru's Environment Minister, Antonio Brack, called the project "nonsense." But one glaciologist says it might have a small impact, according to AFP. It could help lower temperatures by a fraction of a degree up to a couple degrees, according to Thomas Condom, a glaciologist and hydrologist working at the French Institute for Research and Development of Lima.
Gold maintains that it's worth a try.
"I'd rather try and fail to find a solution than start working out how we are going to survive without the glaciers, as if the situation was irreversible," he told AFP.
This is ridiculous.
How could we ever survive without the glaciers that have already been melting for thousands of years?
I don't see the negative reactions basis. Glaciers are melting now faster than ever, and if we look through the climate record we were supposed to be swinging back into a cooler period of time in the last century or so, which isn't happening based on the warming trends measured. This small action will help make the mountain peaks cooler, which just might help with local climate in some way. I'm no climatologist, but it seems legitimate based on what I do know.
I think we'll have to stay tune with Eduardo, this sounds more logical than the Bill Gate's ideas of weather modification. If we could increase the albeldo in more parts of the world we can do something better in this time when BP are dropping millions of barrels of oil in the water without any idea of how to solve.
Messing with Mother Nature in any way is never going to help solve any of our problems, it'll just create more. We need to stop doing the things that cause the problems in the first place!
Yay. Paint a mountain white so that you can cool it by a fraction of a degree.
It does worth a try! At least the whitewash itself doesn't hurt the environment.
Wow. This might be the zenith of idiocy. I wonder what the carbon footprint of all those eggs and lime are? Let's think about this: if we coat the earth in eggs and lime, we can all sleep better at night knowing that we've "done something". Humans are a curios species indeed...
why is it so important to state that this man is not a scientist and who is in charge of determining what a scientist is? a degree does not make a scientist. this man is an inventor and a thinker. he is also in the middle of an experiment with temperature control. there are many people who arent 'scientists' who make legitimate contributions to science. why cant we call them scientists? im not writing this to defend eduardo gold but im writing with the hope of reminding the world to keep its mind open
OK forgive me for being blunt, but this is one of the most colossal wastes of time I have heard of in recent times. If you want to slow the melting of glaciers then stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Seriously for the LOVE of GOD comon sense says stop!!! There are alternatives, WIND and SOLAR along with newer technologies which can be utilized. Throw out any politician who stands in the way. IF taxes and jobs need to be restructured then do it! Whatever you do, Dont pander to the superrich just because they are worried they will lose most of thier cash in a global recession 100 times worse than what is occuring now. Remember the poor cannot get any poorer the rich on the other hand have alot more to lose. I do not mind the rich folks being equal with the rest of us... it is the way God intended anyway.
Wow...you really put out a loaded statement there. Lots of topics to choose from.
But lets hit the easy ones:
You say this is a waste of time...maybe it is; maybe not.
The concept behind it is based off sound scientific principles and its not like spreading some egg and lime on rock will cause any damage. So, if it works, then great.
Someone did something good with a simple idea compared to all those supposed geniuses who want billions for crazy ideas.
While reducing our carbon output is a good idea, what is your master plan for the increased activity from the sun thats been going on for years (thus heating up ALL the planets in the system along with the Earth)? Note that I am not referring to solar flare activity which is at a lull.
Tell me that is not having any impact on the Earth.
And while in 3rd world countries, its probably true that the poor cannot get any poorer; that is not the case in all countries. The poor in America still have it pretty damn good compared to poor in 3rd world countries. They CAN get far more poor.
As for rich people being equal...that only applies to freedoms. If you are referring to everyone being equal economically, then you reduce the incentive for people to go out an work to better themselves (and others with them).
Sure..there are rich that take advantage and that should be kept in check, but humanity needs that drive..that desire to improve oneself.
That need has givin humanity the chance to get to where we are...imperfect or not.
Take it away and we become like the rest of the animals...
Just existing to get our next meal.
Wow so CDales1004 summed up my thoughts. This is amazing - both the effort and the fact that the World Bank gave him 200K. Although that's a lot of umm...chicken feed.
I would imagine that part of this is also just a simple effort at funding the local population with a "work for funds" model? Not a bad way of doing it. This actually has a lot of potential. Instead of just giving a village money, we make them work at doing something good for the money. I'm phrasing this poorly but the concept is sound. There was an article recently about the idea of giving free food to the Haitians. What if we give them work to perform and pay them a wage instead.
No harm no foul here - and if it works great. If it doesn't, a village in Peru just earned 200K in support from the World Bank.
Ha ha ha HA HA Haaa...wait, it kinda makes sense. I think beantown179 says it well. Why not?
This is completely insane. Absolutely stupid.