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Occidental College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

Abstract

Himalayan communities stand precariously in an era of phenomenological uncertainty. Climate change is merely a lens through which we may observe and begin to understand such localized modern complexities. The people of the Tarap Valley in Dolpo, Nepal have experienced an increase in avalanches, snow leopard attacks and unpredictable precipitation patterns in recent years. In upper Mustang, Nepal, people have endured the harshest winter in generations and suffered from reduced water access. Environmental, climatic and weather related changes in both Himalayan districts have severely impacted traditional livelihoods and led some to adopt modern means of adaptation. Despite the scientific evidence suggesting anthropogenic climate change is the culprit, local perceptions of these shifts are widely based on religious, astrological and traditional understandings. Himalayan communities are among the most impacted by climatic variability, and according to scientists, the changes will only become more drastic. The geographical remoteness of many Himalayan communities exemplifies the disconnect between the modern, international academic understanding of climate change and the confusing reality of the lived experience of climate change. This paper aims to provide a voice to some of the voiceless victims of climate change in the Himalayan communities of Nepal. By understanding the changes, impacts, adaptation methods and perceptions in two communities, practical solutions can be enacted.

Disciplines

Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Earth Sciences | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences | Environmental Studies | Natural Resources and Conservation | Nature and Society Relations | Other Environmental Sciences | Place and Environment | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Sustainability | Water Resource Management

 

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