EDITORIAL BY Sara Shahriari
As 2014 rushes toward a close and Bolivia's October presidential elections become a thing of the past, the Bolivian Express team decided to turn our eyes toward the future - not just the coming year, but the coming decades here in the marvellous city of La Paz and beyond.
Visions of the future often focus on transportation like jetpacks, flying cars and teleporting - and certainly for many people creeping along the Prado in a micro at rush hour a jetpack would be a welcome solution. So even as new cable cars are sweeping silently over our heads, the crew at BX decided to keep our feet on the ground and wonder what will happen as the number of cars in La Paz continues to explode, seriously overtaxing roadways and resulting in traffic jams that test commuters' patience to the limits.
We're also looking at Bolivia's growing and very young population, made up of people who increasingly need resources like quality education and jobs. Some of these people, like Guarani youth leader Elidet Ruth Mercado, are debating the move between their homes in traditional communities in rural areas to the big city, where more opportunities for work and school, but also a loss of connection with the past, await.
A growing population also needs more water, a problem that will likely affect La Paz and El Alto with force in coming decades as the glaciers which supply both cities with a portion of their water continue to shrink. The issue of glacial melt is not just a problem for Bolivia, but also for tens of millions of people across the Andes who depend on these ancient water reservoirs for drinking, irrigation and hydroelectricity. Along with the issue of population and water, what to do with all the trash growing cities cast off motivates the visions of some community workers and restauranteurs in La Paz and El Alto, who are looking for alternatives to traditional garbage dumps.
Minding the long literary tradition of future and fantasy, this month, one writer takes on the concept of a futuristic La Paz, from how we get around the city to radical changes in construction and public spaces. Other writers are asking citizens in the city and the countryside what
they believe, or hope, the coming years will hold for their communities and the country at large.
Imagining a future that somehow connects with today's reality is not a simple proposition, especially in dynamic Bolivia. But with new problems and innovative solutions happening at this very moment, and others waiting just around the corner, it's a worthwhile and exciting challenge.
ARTICLES FROM THIS ISSUE
Whiteout: The End of the Andean Glacier?
22 Oct, 2014 | Sara Shahriari
Glaciers aren't just important to penguins and polar bears. In fact, they contribute to the water you drink in parts of Bolivia today. Photo: Anders Backman, Redi Images Not far fr...
22 Oct, 2014 | Valeria Wilde
Photo : Valeria Wilde Elidet Ruth Mercado is a young woman with a lot to say. She loves to talk and explain her opinion, and from the look on her face and the tone of her voice you understand her...
Vehicles of change
22 Oct, 2014 | Stefano Hollis
Bolivian Express explores how La Paz's city government must adapt to cope with rocketing levels of car ownership Photo: Michael Dunn The streets of La Paz--especially during gridlocked...
22 Oct, 2014 | Sophia Vahdati
As consumption increases with the growing population, will waste be lining the streets in 20 years time? Where will all the rubbish go? Trash, litter, rubbish, garbage, waste, refuse, junk, detritus...
22 Oct, 2014 | Wilmer Machaca
To cast an eye upon the rural areas of Bolivia is to look back at the history of the country. You are looking at a Bolivia that, in its early years, depended on the peasant workforce, taking you back...
COBWEBS IN THE SKY
22 Oct, 2014 | Rodrigo Barrenechea
“ Do the Evolution” Illustration: Oscar Zalles Suddenly I find myself once again flying over this city which is always so familiar from high above in an airplane, and realizing, to my surpri...
Forecasting the Future—Bolivian Politics in the Decades Ahead
22 Oct, 2014 | Wassim Cornet
Evo Morales is currently on track to become Bolivia’s longest-serving leader since the country gained independence in 1825. This unprecedented feat is telling of the lack of stability that has defined...