In the past century, manufacturing nitrogen fertilizers with ammonia has been explosive (even literally...). Increases in crop production from manufactured fertilizers have benefited tens of millions of people. Unfortunately, this fertilizer produces tremendous waste in an inefficient process that is highly polluting; we could lower global use with alternative methods. Over 500 years ago, the Incas implemented laws to conserve their valuable guano fertilizer.
We recognize an extremely long and rich tradition of fiber arts from the Andes Mountains -- possibly the longest continuous history of fiber use found on earth. From exquisite embroidered shrouds used to wrap mummies many thousands of years ago, to the finely woven tapestry tunics worn by Inca royalty, the artistry of these textiles is exceptional.
Small salt ponds numbering in the thousands are arranged on steep mountain slopes near the city of Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Known as Maras, and originating from a saline spring, these salt ponds have been tended carefully since Inca times 500 years ago, and possibly for hundreds (or thousands?) of years before the Incas.
Machu Picchu, the mountain citadel high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is a familiar icon of the Inca Empire. Perched high on a steep and narrow ridge between two mountain peaks, the site is ringed on three sides by the Urubamba River, a dizzying 1,600 feet below.
The Qhapaq Ñan, or Great Inca Road, that united the Inca Empire in the Andes Mountains was a tremendous engineering achievement. The Incan road designers took advantage of many pre-existing roads and trails. They expanded [...]