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Round Earth Media has supported dozens of journalists who have written hundreds of pieces covering numerous topics in diverse countries. To explore all these stories, visit our archives!

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Bolivia Protects Potato Diversity

May 6, 2008

By Mary Stucky

Nowhere is the lowly potato more revered than in the Andes of South America. This is where potatoes originated. In just two countries — Peru and Bolivia — there some 10,000 different varieties of potatoes, in colors ranging from green to black to pink. Each has a unique taste and culinary purpose.

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Oaxaca’s Weavers Keep Culture Thriving

Twenty years ago, a young Canadian backpacker named Mary Jane Gagnier stumbled upon a tiny village in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, fell in love with a local weaver — and never left.

To this day Mary Jane and Arnulfo Mendoza live in Teotitlan del Valle. That’s pretty typical in this village nestled in the dry foothills of the Sierra Juarez, where people stay put — unlike many in Mexico, who are forced by poverty to emigrate.

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Ecuador Rainforest Travel

November 30, 2007

By Mary Losure

“There!” Our guide, Cirilo Tapui, points with his machete. “A gigantic woodpecker.”

I follow his gaze. Gigantic is right.

A ray of sun backlights the bird’s brilliant red crest as it pounds its huge beak on a dead tree — THWOK! THWOK! THWOK! Here in the Ecuadorian Amazon, immense and flashy birds like this still thrive, along with monkeys, tapirs, caimans and even, here and there, a jaguar.

And it’s possible,

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Ecuador Fair Trade Roses

November 26, 2007

Planning to buy a bouquet of roses for someone you love?

If, like 90 percent of the roses sold in the U.S. today, they’re imported, they may have a dark history. The workers who grew them might have been child laborers. The blooms might have been exposed to deadly, environment-polluting pesticides.

But those scenarios are beginning to change. Move over, fair-trade coffee. Now, there are fair-trade flowers.

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Who Owns Peru’s Culture?

September 3, 2007

Machu Picchu, one of the world’s great archaeological sites, dazzles tourists from all over the world.

But those tourists who travel to Peru can’t see hundreds of treasures that were found at Machu Picchu. Those treasures are in New Haven, Conn., at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Peruvians are outraged that these antiquities are so far away, and they are demanding that they be returned.

How did the treasures end up at Yale?

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Peru’s Natural Viagra Center of Controversy

Long before the drug Viagra, Indians in Peru had their own libido enhancer — an unassuming root called maca.

Maca caught the attention of a U.S. company, which got a patent on this so-called natural Viagra. And just a few months ago, Wal-Mart started selling the tonic.

But Peru is crying foul, claiming maca was stolen from the people who knew about it first.

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From Bolivia There’s Aid, and Then There’s Free Aid

August 8, 2007

Around the world, the U.S. spends billions on development programs to improve the standard of living for poor people. Sounds good, right? Well not every country is buying. Take Bolivia, for example, which took a dramatic turn to the left one year ago with the election of Evo Morales. In Bolivia, critics of U.S. aid say it comes with strings attached. As Mary Stucky reports, U.S. money may be losing its influence.

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A Walnut Grove Welcome

June 1, 2007

Walnut Grove, Minnesota was the real life setting for the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” But its population and business community was eroding until Hmong refugees from Laos showed up. They received such a friendly reception in Walnut Grove others followed. Now Hmong refugees make up a third of the town’s population. And Walnut Grove is prospering and growing.

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Evo’s Revolution

In President Evo Morales, Bolivia’s indigenous majority finally has one of its own in charge. And he’s brought change. But he’s also angered much of the country, which is threatening to secede.

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Flower Workers In Ecuador

A trade deal with several South American countries expires tomorrow. But President Bush is expected to sign an eight-month extension — which would be a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. We’ve had this pact with Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador for 16 years. They send goods to the U.S. duty-free.In exchange, they’re supposed to crack down on the production of cocaine and other drugs. It’s a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. Ecuador provides a quarter of the roses sold in this country.

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