From 2002-2004 I lived and worked on the Island of Chiloe, in Chilean Patagonia. Many of the friends I made there remain close friends and the Island is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich regions of the Americas.
Traditionally a fishing and maritime people, ‘Chilotes’ are famous for their hospitality. The cold Patagonia waters are ideal for marine life and through principally Norwegian investment, the region has become the number 2 salmon farming area on the globe. Now, the terrible pollution associated with mismanagement of that industry has likely exacerbated the the exaggerated warming effects of this year’s disastrous El Niño. Thousands of tonnes of marine life has washed up on Chiloe ‘s once pristine shores.
Red Tide (http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/redtide.html) is everywhere. The fishing industry is in ruin, there are food shortages and massive protests.
The cause and effect of this disaster may not be as clear as the protesters suggest, but the pollution and mismanagement of the salmon industry was indeed a train wreck we predicted back over 15 years ago.
My thoughts go out to the people of Southern Chile.