During the High Level Meeting on Water, organized by the United Nations to motivate the collective contribution to the implementation of goals related to this resource, the Ambassador of Concausa, Catalina Silva (20), from Chilean Patagonia, presented a moving and powerful speech focused on the water crisis, climate change and the drought that afflicts different areas of the world.
Read Catalina’s full speech, here ↓
I come from the land of ice in Patagonia; lands that have undergone geological transformation for thousands of years and in which we experience uncertainty on a daily basis. I am from Villa O’Higgins, a small Chilean town located between the southern Andes mountains, where Campo de Hielo Patagónico is located, the third solid freshwater reserve in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland.
I was eight years old and the tree above my head seems to have no end towards the sky, when this vast and sparsely populated territory gave me the opportunity to participate in a series of scientific investigations that sought to decipher the biodiversity of different bodies of water. They spent five years studying Lake O’Higgins, the deepest lake in America and the fifth in the world, about which not much was known until two teenagers arrived and we decided to investigate the richness and abundance of different microalgae that abounded in this lake.
I come from a land where boys and girls decided to discover the secrets that inhabited our feet, and along the way, share all that knowledge that inhabited the end of the world through documentaries, educational capsules, and at the same time, alerting the community about the biggest threats.
At the age of seven, I experienced from the territory what it is like to fight against a hydroelectric mega project that wanted to stop the water from our flows and restrict access to our community.
When I was ten years old, I walked for the first time on a glacier. Its cracks generated some fear in me; it was a fragile and unknown terrain that opened before my eyes. I returned four years later to that mountain. Unfortunately I found a very different panorama: those glaciers, which in my childhood covered large slopes, had receded, leaving modified ecosystems in their wake. But this time it was not the product of a transnational company, it was the effects of a silent pandemic that today attacks our entire planet: it is the effects of climate change.
The glaciers of Patagonia are a reservoir of water for humanity; we live in a privileged place where the essential liquid is abundant. And here, in the land of ice, we know we have a responsibility to protect them. A responsibility that is shared with all humanity; reduce the carbon footprint and take care of this natural treasure.