Could lime, egg whites and water prevent Andean glaciers--and others around the world--from disappearing?
Remember in Alice in Wonderland when the cards painted the roses red to keep the Queen of Hearts from knowing they planted the wrong flowers? Well, a Peruvian man named Eduardo Gold had a similar idea, only his invention is meant to bring an extinct glacier back to life, and unlike the fictional garden trick, his idea might actually work.
Gold's idea uses the cool roof principle: surfaces painted white will reflect the sun’s heat and emit absorbed radiation back into the atmosphere.
Although he's no scientist, the 55 year-old inventor believes that by painting the peak of Chalon Sombrero white, his team will be able to generate a cold micro-climate, and recreate all the climatic conditions necessary for the glacier to re-form.
Before and after: Loss of glaciers in the Andes mountain range is threatening the water supply of 30 million people, and scientists say the lower altitude glaciers could disappear in 10 years.
Peru is home to more than 70 percent of the world's tropical glaciers, but the accelerated effects of climate change have melted away 22 percent of them in the last 30 years, according to a 2009 World Bank report. The Chalon Sombrero glacier was one of the main sources of water for Licapa, a village of about 900 people.
The mountain whitewashing idea might sound a little far fetched, but the concerned villagers accepted Mr. Gold's proposal almost immediately.
Mr. Gold's idea was one of the 26 winners from around 1,700 submissions in the "100 Ideas to Save the Planet" competition sponsored by the World Bank at the end of 2009. His "paint" recipe calls for just three simple and environmentally-friendly ingredients: lime, industrial egg white and water.
Even though Gold has yet to receive the $200,000 prize for having one of the best ideas in the competition, he's lost no time in getting to work.
Already, he and a team of four Licapa villagers have covered almost a solid square mile with the whitewashing mixture.