When we first learned about Eduardo Gold’s plan to paint the Peruvian Andes white in order to deflect heat back into the atmosphere and bring back the shrinking glaciers, we weren’t 100% certain whether the guy was in his right mind. But nearly 18 months later, it seems that he might have been on to something after all. CNN recently hiked with the engineer and his crew to roughly 16,400 feet above sea level – where the team has already painted about 50,000 square feet of rock white with a mixture of lime, water and sand. Remarkably, the temperature is 30 degrees fahrenheit cooler than unpainted sections of the mountain, and ice is already beginning to form. Check out CNN’s video after the jump.
Gold received $200,000 from the World Bank for his idea to fight back against global warming in the Andes by painting them white. Although he acknowledges that his plan might not work, given how richly the local people and their livestock depend on the shrinking glaciers for their livelihood, he said doing something was better than doing nothing.
In addition to keeping the region cool, glaciers are an important source of water for the region’s rivers and streams. But in the last 30 years, according to a 2009 World Bank report, 22% of the earth’s glaciers have melted, 70% of which are in Peru. Already thousands of people have fled from Lipaca, a small town at the base of the mountain depicted in CNN’s film clip, but if Gold can whitewash the nearly 10 billion square feet he plans to paint, at a cost of $1.5 billion, and the glaciers come back, then maybe we all stand a chance of surviving global warming.
image via wikicommons