As with any part of the "third world", the problems of the Southern Cordillera are many, and only a few are suited to photographic essay. Poverty is certainly the root of many maladies, especially in Peru and Bolivia, but what the casual gringo tourist may see as poverty is often subsistence farming or social fabrics which are fundamentally different from their own.
Also widely obvious are signs of environmental degradation by contaminants of air, water and crops, or the effects of unsustainable land use. These are far more likely to be considered as "problems" by passing gringos than by someone trying to eke a living from the land, and few practices have been as widely destructive as those encountered in North America or parts of the Orient. Nevertheless, environmental movements, both indigenous and NGO-driven, are making themselves heard. Unfortunately, some of these seem bent on stopping all development rather than weighing the pro's and con's, and tend to depend on the influence of wild exaggerations, both on uneducated local populations and on the news-hungry foreign presses.
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