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Lachen, the home of Lachenpas, the indigenous people of north Sikkim is in grip of a climate calamity. Unseasonal rainfall, unusually stormy weather, landslides, receding glaciers, short winters, accelerated snowmelt, longer summers, fears of water scarcity, failed crops, mosquitoes, and a clear and present threat of a glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF). But the biggest worry for the Lachenpas is the barren patches on the Angden Lama peak (top left) that is a constant reminder of how climate change will change everything for them in the near future. “If there is water, there is a village, if not, there is nobody.” is an old saying amongst the people of the Himalayas. Read my full report here.
Sonam Wangchuk poses with the "ice stupa", a conical two-storey-tall artificial glacier that drip-releases frozen water for irrigating 5000 poplar and willow trees on the outskirts of Phayang Monastery in the mountain desert of Ladakh. The founder of the SECMOL Alternative School, Wangchuk, a Ladakhi, is a mechanical engineer, education reformist and a futurist exploring alternative technologies. His projects are wide-ranging: solar-heated mud buildings that need no heating even in -25C; underground mud pipes that are one-tenth the cost of the cheapest water pipes; a solar-heated bio-gas plant; rocket stoves that cook and heat with a fraction of the wood needed by other stoves and even bake bread with exhaust heat; and low-cost greenhouses that enable large scale farming even in Ladakhi winters. Read my report about the Ice stupa here.
Jadav Payeng aka Forest man of India at Molai Kathoni, the forest he created on an island of the Brahmaputra river, Assam, India. For almost 30 years, off everyone’s radar, without support or subsidies, without fear or favour, without Forest Department or foreign hand, Payeng, almost obsessively, continued to expand the forest and the fruit of his labour is now being celebrated around the world. Read my report here.
Crack in a Gompa wall, Dzongu, Sikkim - Lepchas, the designated 'primitive' tribe of Dzongu in Sikkim have been opposing the 24 dam hydropower project being built on the Teesta river as it is destroying the ecology around their sacred mountain, Khangchendzonga. The quake of September 2011 came as no surprise to them. Read my report here.