The glacier melts away in Ladakh


The enormity of climate change and its impact is on everyone’s lips in this cold desert where over 80 per cent of the farmers depend on the snow melt for their needs. Water is almost a luxury now. There is no authoritative study done so far to estimate the impact of receding glaciers in Ladakh, points out Ms Nisa Khatoon, project officer, of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Leh. Scarcity of water has led to people digging bore wells in Leh, which is likely to have an impact on the underwater springs. Ms Khatoon also notes a reduction in pasture lands affecting the migration routes of the Changpas, a nomadic tribe that lives near the lakes in the upper reaches of Ladakh.

The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : The glacier melt.

I seem to remember a certain Environment minister claiming that climate change mitigation policies were irresponsible because they would lead to a small drop in GDP growth in his country. If only the people of Ladakh had this luxury. Believers in reincarnation may wish that Mr Prentice be reborn as a farmer in Ladakh circa 2060, but there may not be any farmers in Ladakh come 2050, nor any glaciers, so I guess that would make him a lonely man!

Picture courtesy Rich Drogpa’s Flickr Photostream, used under a creative commons license

2 comments for “The glacier melts away in Ladakh

  1. November 6, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Great post, what will happen to North India when the glacier melt!
    Re your name sake, VSPCA has a save the Olive Ridley project:

  2. Sibylle
    January 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    thanks for this report and this informative and passionate blog 🙂

    The WWF and the Snow Leopard Conservancy have done a lot of research and there are at least 50 nomad families that have had to give up their way of life and move to Leh. They’re struggling to earn enough and sadly many others will be forced to join them.

    Climate change impact here is massive. This is just one example and there are many more like glacier lake overflow floods (GLOFs) that can destroy villages below. For wildlife like the snow leopard impacts are also severe.