A cold wave gripping much of South America has caused areas where the average temperature is normally above 20 degrees Celsius to fall below 0 degrees. These extreme temperatures claimed dozens of human lives in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay through the month of July. Now in Bolivia, officials have announced the death of nearly 6 million fish in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, where temperatures dropped to their lowest levels in nearly 50 years.
Provincial Governor Rubén Costas stated that the loss of fish was the worst environmental disaster in half a century, noting that the aquatic animals had likely become more vulnerable due to a prolonged drought.
With the affected rivers now so polluted due to decomposing fish that residents were cautioned not to drink from them, Bolivian health officials are working to safeguard the public by supplying drinking water and medicine.
In addition, the governor has called for a ban on fishing to help species recover. We are thankful for the initiatives of Governor Costas and other officials in easing this situation as we convey our sadness for the loss of precious human and animal life.
Let us come together in unifying actions to renew sustainable living conditions for all beings. Speaking at a March 2009 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai conveyed her concern for yet another extreme toll of climate change, mentioning at the same time the critical need for the most efficient, planet-saving measures.