Researchers from northern Ontario are in Peru where they are sharing their knowledge of what has become known as the "Sudbury method."
The Sudbury method refers to the community's work over decades to rehabilitate a landscape damaged by mining and smelting.
"Sudbury has become recognized almost globally now for taking one of the most damaged landscapes on planet Earth and through a lot of work by citizens, community members, industry and government, turning it into actually a really, really nice place to live," said Graeme Spiers, an emeritus professor in environmental and earth sciences at Laurentian University.
Spiers said researchers at Peru's National University of Moquegua invited him and some of his colleagues to share the lessons they learned rehabilitating Sudbury's infamous "moonscape."
The region near the university is a mining hub in Peru, home to some of the world's largest copper and gold mines.
Spiers said the community is concerned about a mine in the area that closed 10 years ago.
These photos taken of the same area of Sudbury at different points in time show how far the city's landscape has come thanks to regreening efforts. (Submitted by Laurentian University)
"There is acid runoff periodically from the mine which leads to a highly discoloured river system from mountain to coast and that's over 150, 180 kilometres of river distance," Spiers said.
He said iron oxides in the water have turned it bright red in some areas and some Peruvian communities are in a state of emergency because they are concerned about their drinking water.
Spiers said environmental concerns in the Sudbury region also started over water, and the effects of acid rain. While the issues that affected Sudbury might be different than those in Peru, he said the most important part of solving environmental problems is community buy-in.
In Sudbury, that meant the city, mining industry, residents and researchers at Laurentian University all working together to rehabilitate the environment.
"The key thing is citizens got together and were heavily involved," Spiers said.
Thumbnail image courtesy of CBC News.
This article was originally written by and published for CBC News. With files from Markus Schwabe.