bildstreifen_ethnologie_master_va2

Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Impacts in the Himalayan region of Nepal

Fidel Devkota

Scientific studies and lived realities in situ indicate adverse impact of climate change in the Himalayan region, presenting the existential threat to the local system and societies and beyond. For thousands of year it provided refuge to the diverse cultures fleeing the imperial conquest (Zurick, 1989) but due to climate change, high altitude societies are in the verge of collapse. The region is not just important because its historically a melting pot, but also because it feeds the major rivers on either side of the Himalayas, supporting half of humanity (v. Vandana and Bhatt, 2009). Nepalese economy totally depends upon the region because without mountains there would be no agriculture or tourism in the country, the two main source of income. As the Himalayan glaciers are retreating, mountain peaks are without snow cover, water sources are drying out at an alarming rate. New vector and water-borne disease is rampant, pasture and fields are arid and food production is on the steep decline.

Research Location © Fidel Devkota

People are struggling with their traditional way of life and subsistence and many have migrated elsewhere for survival. This dissertation presents comprehensive studies on the climate vulnerabilities in the Himalayan region of Nepal and the local’s individual and collective ‘response’ to it. Visual mediums based on ‘applied visual anthropology’ (v. Pink, 2009) is extensively used in the research to bring the fieldwork experience directly to the context of representation (Pink, 2006). It has also assisted in expanding the empirical base for anthropological analysis. Visual medium related to this dissertation is also part of activism and advocacy urging for a global consensus to address climate change. It is important for an anthropologist witnessing the ‘changes’ to understand and represent “what kind of cultural techniques do the local people utilize for the sustainable use of natural resources and the prevention of and adaptation to Natural Hazards” (Frömming and Reichel, 2011: 228). This dissertation is also an attempt to engage and contribute to understanding both the cause of global environmental change and the human responses to it (v. Crate and Nuttall, 2009). 

References:

Crate, Susan A. and Mark Nuttall. 2009. “Introduction: Anthropology and Climate Change.” In Anthropology and Climate Change. eds. Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall, 9-36. California: Left Coast Press.

Frömming, Urte Undine and Christian Reichel. 2012. “Vulnerable costal regions. Indigenous People under Climate Change” In Religion in Global Environmental and Climate Change. eds. Dieter Gerten and Sigurd Bergmann, 215-235. London: Continuum. 

Pink, Sarah. 2006. The Future of Visual Anthropology: Engaging the Senses. London: Routledge.

Pink, Sarah. 2009. “Applied Visual Anthropology: Social Intervention and Visual Methodologies.” In Visual Interventions: Applied Visual Anthropology. Ed. Sarah Pink, 3-28. New York. Berghahn Books. 

Vandana, Shiva and Vinod Kumar Bhatt. 2009. Climate Change at the Third Pole the impact of Climate Instability on Himalayan Ecosystem and the Himalayan Communities (eds.). Navdanya Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology. Dehradun. India. 

Zurick, David N. 1989. “ Historical Links Between Settlement, Ecology and Politics in the Mountain of West Nepal.” Human Ecology Vol.17(2): 229-255.