Americas Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 3, No. 4, Fall

10 Things to Do
ASUNCIÓN,PARAGUAY> The election of Fernando Lugo as President of Paraguay in April 2008 meant long-overdue attention to one of Latin America's most intriguing capital cities. Asunción offers a vivid mix of cosmopolitan élan, sultry weather and an...
5 Ways to Improve Urban Transportation and Reduce Its Environmental Effects
Upgrading public transit in American cities will not only improve the quality of life for urban residents, it will also reduce one of the largest sources of CO2 globally.Here are the planning, financial and administrative steps to modernize cities.Cities...
AQ Interview: Wyclef Jean
Multi-platinum and Grammy-awardwinning musician and producer Wyclef Jean made a name for himself in the 1990s both as a solo artist and as a member of The Fugees with his political and socially oriented hip hop. These days, he makes as many headlines...
Ask the Experts
What is the single most important thing governments, business or individuals can do to improve the environment?The threat of climate change is our greatest environmental challenge. But the trend of increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse...
A TALE OF OUR Cities
Environmental renewal and economic progress are intimately linked-nowhere more closely than in today's cities. If policymakers can make cities livable and sustainable, they will reap dividends in economic development, inclusion and social progress.In...
Decriminalization: A Trend Takes Shape
DRUGLatin American frustration with the "war on drugs" is growing. Harsh anti-drug laws have failed to stem apparently rising drug use, and incarceration rates are climbing-up 40 percent on average in Mexico and South America over the last decade-with...
Dispatches from the Field: The Coup in Honduras
The international community should not have been suprised when Hondurans defended their new government, a U.S. journalist reports.When more than 200 soldiers stormed the house of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, rousted him out of bed, and...
Ecological Preservation: WHAT ROLE FOR FOREIGNERS?
U.S sporting-goods entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins fi rst fell in love with Patagonia as a teenager on backpacking trips. Today, he is one of Latin America's largest private landowners, controlling an estimated 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) straddling...
FAT City
The growing urbanization of the planet has bred bad habits of consumption, along with poorly designed transportation and service networks, that are wreaking havoc on our personal and environmental health-not to mention aesthetics.The planet has reached...
GREEN Venture Capital
The newest "mi racle" food in U.S. health food circles is a juice made from açai, a tiny Brazilian berry grown in the Amazon. A palmberry about the size of a blueberry, açai has ten times the antioxidants of red wine. Not only is it good for you: it's...
GROWING Green
Protecting one of the world's most biodiverse regions while promoting economic development should be on every president's agendaSince the time of the Conquest, conservation has taken a backseat to empire, nation-building and economic growth. The results...
Health and Equity in Latin America
HEALTHThe debate over health care reform in the United States has echoes in Latin America. But across the region, a variety of attempts to improve health care delivery- with Chile, Cuba and Colombia offering starkly different approaches-has resulted...
Indexing the Environment
In 2006 Yale University , in collaboration with Columbia University, developed an Environmental Protection Index (EPI) that it applied in full in 2008. The goal: to create a comparative index of environmental policy to understand what governments are...
Innovators and Innovations in the Hemisphere
CIVIC INNOVATORUn Techo Para Mi PaísRegionalSeptember 2010 marks the bicentennial of Chile's independence from Spain (at the hands of the liberator Bernardo O'Higgins). If the group Un Techo Para Mi País (A Roof for My Country or Techo) achieves its...
Latin American Hopefuls
2010 WINTER OLYMPICSLatin America has yet to bring home a Winter Olympic Games medal. Could the February 12-28, 2010, games in Vancouver, Canada, be a historic turning point?Although teams have yet to be offi cially announced, a good indicator of the...
Letter from the Editor
"While we often think of pristine wilderness when we imagine the environment, the truth is that the quality of life in urban centers and their outlying areas is what affects us most."I must confess. I've never been much of an environmental activist....
NEGOTIATING a Green Commitment
Both developed and developing countries need to get serious about the risk of global warming. One way to do this is to establish a global trade system that provides market incentives for low-carbon products.Climate change will determine the path and...
Our Man in HAITI: Bill Clinton
He brings star power and loads of contacts in the U.S. administration, along with multilateral donors and investors. But can he fi x what really ails the hemisphere's poorest country- its ineffectual, feckless government?Since his recent appointment...
Private Sector: SAVAGE OR SAVIOR?
Long seen as the villain, some businesses in Latin America are now leading the charge in protecting the environment and integrating sustainable practices into their core business. But progress has been uneven.Since 1992, the Brazilian city of Cubatão...
Ravaged Lands, Ravaged Peoples
In a recently published collection of photographs and essays titled Fragile, international photographer Howard Buffett provides a graphic and heart-wrenching portrayal of the risks, challenges and exploitation that the world's marginalized poor face...
RENEGOTIATION OF Great Lakes
On June 13, 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon met in Niagara Falls, Canada, and announced plans to amend the landmark 37-year-old Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to modernize...
SUSTAINABLE Agriculture IN CUBA
For a country that prides itself on its scientifi c accomplishments, Cuba may, by necessity and desperation, have stumbled upon a modern-day economic niche that will serve it well in the future. That niche? Organic farming, the favorite of socially and...
THE Fulcrum of Our New Relationship in the Americas: CLIMATE CHANGE & ENERGY
Reducing global warming and building on gains in renewable energy represent a unique opportunity to engage our partners in the Americas.Ever since President John F. Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress in 1961, every new U.S. administration has...
The OAS: Should It Re-Admit Cuba?
yes Hector MoralesCuba Hasn't Been Given a Free Pass.In early June, the Organization of American States (OAS) in its General Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, approved an historic resolution on Cuba and created a pathway for that country to rejoin...
Three Years after Chile's Penguin Revolution
EDUCATIONIn 2006, high-school students in Chile took to the streets to protest the country's education system, sparking President Michelle Bachelet's first major crisis. Known as the Penguin Revolution (a term that refers to the students' white and black...
TURN ON THE Lights
It's Time to Start Thinking about a Hemispheric Smart-Power Grid for the 21st Century.How we collectively produce and deliver energy, while coping with the catastrophic threat of climate change, will defi ne our century. The challenges faced by the international...
Urban HEALTH
Cities are crucial to public health. They are sources of cultural, technological and economic innovation, but they can also be breeding grounds for injustice, disease, environmental destruction, and violence.By 2030, they will be home to seven of every...
WEAK Land Rights = WEAK Preservation
Modern Brazil's Transition to Democracy and a Progressive Constitution Have Done Little to Change Archaic and Abusive Land Policies. That's Bad News for Environmentalists Around the World.Although Brazil is among the 15 largest economies in the world,...