Ice constitutes the second largest source of freshwater on the planet, and 70 percent of the world’s tropical glaciers are found in Peru.
Located in Cusco, the Quelccaya Ice Cap is the largest tropical glacier in the world, covering an area equivalent to more than 9,000 soccer fields. However, due to accelerated melting it is receding by 60 meters (195 feet) a year, and some studies have determined that it will disappear in the next 30 years if global greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.
As the climate crisis takes hold, the ice cap melts, and the inhabitants of the communities who live on the slopes and close to the glaciers are directly impacted. They seek to protect the fragile ecosystems through ancestral knowledge and rituals of the Andean cosmovision, which over time are also disappearing due to the changing environment, which is now the main cause of population displacement.
The thaw not only threatens the continuity of life in Andean communities, but it also puts certain species at risk of extinction, as these areas are inhabited by a range of aquatic and terrestrial species.