Painting the Mountains White

Back to Earth

Eduardo Gold has painted several hectares of the Peruvian Andes. He hopes to do a lot more. Every once in a while, Gold and a group of volunteers climb to a sunburnt, oxygen-low altitude of 5,000 meters to deface the mountain’s glaciers, all with the best of intentions.

According to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, the high Andean glaciers have been shrinking by 7% since 1977. Some researchers believe that by 2030, these glaciers may disappear entirely. Eduardo Gold, a sort of Don Quixote of global warming, has taken it upon himself to save his local glaciers by repelling the sun. Dark surfaces retain more heat than light surfaces, so Gold’s painted areas keep about 15 degrees Celcius cooler than the mountains’ naturally black rocks.

This innovation has won Eduardo Gold the World Bank competition “100 Ideas to Save the Planet”. To make the winning sweeter, his paint is also eco-friendly; the Andean glaciers’ new sunscreen is made of all-natural lime, water, sand and 2% soap, which helps the mixture to stick to rock and stay waterproof.

 

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