Friday, July 29, 2011

Grey to Black: Colombia's Urban Environmental Prospects

A landslide this year near Medellin. More of this coming?
Fifty years from now, Bogotá will be several degrees warmer, rainier and yet suffer more water shortages, say experts.

During three days this week, environmental experts from around the world discussed the environmental prospects for Colombia's cities - and the predictions aren't encouraging.

The conference, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, took place from the 26th to the 28th of this week.

More rain? Flooding in Bogotá.
Raising the average temperature a few degrees might sound good for chilly Bogotá. But it will be accompanied with more traumatic changes, such as torrential rains, landslides and monumental traffic jams. Meanwhile, Colombia's coastal cities will be invaded by rising seas.

Increased and more erratic rainfall, combined with environmental damage from deforestation, the destruction of wetlands and pressure to build on unstable lands will mean more environmental disasters, the experts said.

Deforestion in Colombia
According to recent studies, Colombia loses more than 3,000 square kilometers of forest each year, worsening soil erosion and landslides and pumping global warming gases into the atmosphere. One of the biggest causes of deforestation is illegal drug crop production, according to the government.

Gridlock near central Bogotá. 
Bogotá and other cities will also overwhelm their infrastructures. Bogotá alone is expected to add another million residents by 2020, and, even more importantly, car ownership is growing rapidly, bringing the city to one huge gridlock - unless the city finds ways to limit car use.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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