The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
Global warming and climate change are adversities facing the world today, threatening the survival of future generations and of our planet itself. This ‘Inconvenient Truth’ is manifest in the Himalayas through glacial melting, landslides, soil erosion, uprooted livelihoods and deaths every year in tiny villages nestled in the Himalayan mountain range from Arunachal Pradesh to the Tibetan plateau in Ladakh. Disaster is waiting to happen with insurmountable impact cascading from the mountains to the plains below.
The changes in our ecosystem impact our urban lives every day, and most often, we brush them aside as a one- off event and someone else’s problem!
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish activist, shook the world’s consciousness with these prescient words at Davos in January 2019. “Our world is on fire!”
From the outset, global agencies and Governments have been addressing climate change from the top down. Their efforts are largely ineffective, mired in denial, driven by politics and, where coherent, mostly focused on policy and monetary frameworks aimed at reducing carbon emission. In the meanwhile, temperatures have risen and are racing towards the tipping point of 2 degrees. From there on, there is no coming back.
Global warming is framed in our minds as other peoples' problem. Caused by big business and big Government and therefore to be solved by them. But that is simply denial of another kind: as a consequence, we have lost a sense of personal responsibility and belief in our ability to do anything.
Calls to action are caught between the worst of both worlds: neither the top-down effectiveness of
“Whilst we do all we can to galvanize others, the best antidote to the prospect of global catastrophe is local action owned and sustained by strong, empowered and confident local communities, supported by fast acting global networks.”
Founder, Go Green Go Organic
The Himalayas are the world's youngest mountains, stretching
The fragility of the Himalayas is disguised by their grandeur. In reality, the Himalayan ecosystem is in poor health, impacted by the consequences of rapid and uncontrolled change. The threat arises from multiple sources – natural and man-made.
Being a young eco-system, the Himalayan belt is seismically active: earthquakes,
Like much of the biodiversity-rich areas across the world, the Himalayas are constantly under threat from both external influxes of climate change and local
It is no longer a matter of choice. To survive (and reverse) an otherwise bleak future, we must strike a delicate balance with the environment, being mindful not to add new stresses that further upset the ecosystem. The need is for a sustainable methodology of change – one that recreates and gives back even while it
This is an urgent Call to Action - need for checks and balances to better appreciate the core principles of sustainable development that 'meet the needs of the present without compromising the right of future generations to meet their own needs.' It's a wake-up call to Indian and the world to protect the Himalayan ecosystem for our own survival.
Ladakh is India's youngest Union Territory, located in
Ladakh is characterized as a high-altitude desert, with excessive aridity and year-round moisture deficit. Climatic changes are extreme, with large temperature swings between summer and winter. The rugged terrain has
Rainfall patterns have been changing, small glaciers and permanent snow fields are melting, and the temperature rise has affected water runoff in the rivers. Reduced snowfall has led to dwindling water resources and has impacted agriculture. Ladakh and its water sources are almost entirely dependent on glaciers and snow-melts and changes in water systems can be directly attributed to receding glaciers.
Climate change is stripping Ladakh of its identity in more ways than one. Traditional architecture which comprised mud structures and wooden-roofed buildings is making way for concrete ones to withstand unseasonal rainfall. Paintings and carvings in Buddhist monasteries that dot the region have been ruined because of seepage due to incessant rains over the last few years.
Apart from climate change, tourism is the other factor that the local community has to contend with as they struggle to
While Ladakhis understand little about climate science, they are attempting to re-align their lives around a new reality — less snow, receding glaciers and an arid landscape. Abandoning their lands and way of life in pursuit of modernity and livelihood, about 12% of residents move out to