What do you see? An alien sun rising over some distant desert landscape? Arid rivers marking the surface of Mars? Leave your guesses in the comments! #ISeeTheWorldWithScience
● Forests in Flames: Actually, this photo was commissioned by the United Nations to bring attention to deforestation from coca cultivation. Three countries account for the global cocaine production: Peru, Columbia and Bolivia. A study led by SUNY professor Liliana Dávalos showed that in a 5 year period, coca cultivation led to the destruction of 890 square kilometers of rainforest. That accounts for ~6 percent of rainforest loss, totaling 14,000 square kilometers, or an area slightly larger than Jamaica. Spraying with herbicide proved to be an ineffective deterrent: for every 30 hectares sprayed, only one was eradicated. In contrast, government protection of land seemed to prevent illegal growth of coca plants.
● Sunburned Eyes: Dilated pupils and red eyes are a visible sign of cocaine use. Curiously, cocaine was used to treat snow blindness, an extremely painful form of sunburn of the eye caused by UV radiation bouncing off snow cover. Did you know that British explorer Ernest Shackleton packed medicinal cocaine for his expedition to the South Pole in 1907 (see here for a fascinating pix http://goo.gl/W8Jo5). [Note: Shackleton came close, but did not make it to the South Pole. Later, his wife recounted : “The only comment he made to me about not reaching the Pole was “a live donkey is better than a dead lion, isn’t it?”]
● Snow Blind Friend:The Urban Dictionary defines Snow Blindness as Cocaine addiction, as heard in this poignant song by Steppenwolf: SNOWBLIND FRIEND live John Kay & Steppenwolf 1989
He said he wanted Heaven but prayin’ was too slow
So he bought a one way ticket on an airline made of snow
John Kay, the charismatic frontsman of Steppenwolf, was legally blind with a congenital disorder of cone cells leaving him with complete color blindness and only black and white vision.
Ref: Forests and Drugs: Coca-Driven Deforestation in Tropical Biodiversity Hotspots. Dávaloset al., http://goo.gl/B1NVbs
Photographer: Javier Crespo, Leo Burnett Colombia advertising agency.