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  • Tensions Flare Over Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park

    First Nations in Canada have long gotten the short end of the stick in deals with federal agencies. Recently, inside Jasper National Park, things are tending toward more of the same, with indigenous people raising objections over a newly installed glass skywalk 918 feet above the Sunwapta valley. Like Canada’s other early national parks, Jasper…

  • At the Foot of a Zanskari Glacier

    A recent conversation in Zanskar, a region in the Himalayas of northern India,forcefully showed me how people can express their common concern for glaciers through  frameworks so different that they can be challenging to bring together. My first visit to Pensi-la My daughter and I entered Zanskar in June this year by the road from Kargil,…

  • Himalayan Region Considers Climatic Threat to Hydropower Future

    Glacial melt is threatening the Hindu Kush Himalayan region’s development of potential hydropower. A recent forum convened by the Kathmandu-based organization International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) highlighted the climatic and social challenges that accompany the establishment and sustainability of the region’s hydropower sector. The Sept. 1 event event, “Managing climate and social risks key…

  • Glacier Research in Peru Links Students with Communities

    A faculty member and students from a provincial university in Peru recently presented the results of a class project on glacier research at an international conference. Their study of glacier retreat and environmental risks draws on the familiarity of the faculty and students with local environments and cultures. It sets an important example by showing…

  • Greenhouses bring hope to vulnerable mountain communities in Nepal

    Growing up in a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal, I vividly remember how food insecurity impacted our everyday lives. Floods, droughts, and landslides would immediately determine what we ate. We ate high carb with little nutritional value when things got really bad. I dreaded those days. I looked forward to the rare days when we…

  • Science and Politics in a Mountain Grassland in Peru

    A recent visit to a research site in a high-elevation grassland in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru demonstrated the importance of these rapidly changing ecosystems.  It showed as well the challenges of carrying out studies in this area, and the opportunities for collaborations between different organizations. The Science of Grasslands On August 17 I drove…

  • Photo Friday: Volcanic Readiness in Colombia

    The Volcanic and Seismological Observatory of Manizales has recently conducted several workshops on volcanic risk with communities in the vicinity of Nevado del Ruiz, a glacier-covered volcano in Colombia that showed signs of renewed activity earlier this year. The workshops prepare communities to react to volcanic hazards like ash and lahars, the latter of which…

  • Walking to the Mountain, Dancing at the Shrines: An Andean Pilgrimage

    Zoila Mendoza, an anthropologist and the chair of the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, is also the producer of a documentary recorded in the high Andes of Peru. “The Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i: The Walk Experience,” first released in February 2015, has won…

  • Calls for “Inclusive Governance” in Climate Change Policy

    Climate change mitigation and adaptation policies need to stop merely “paying lip service” to the knowledge and needs of rural communities, indigenous lands, and high mountain communities, according to two anthropologists who make their case in a recent issue of Science. The perspective, “Environmental governance for all,” written by Eduardo S. Brondizio and Francois-Michel Le…

  • First global analysis of the societal impacts of glacier floods

    Two British researchers recently published the first global inventory and damage assessment of the societal consequences incurred by glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). They revealed that glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) have been declining in frequency since the mid-1990s, with the majority released by ice dam failures. Glacial hazard specialists Jonathan Carrivick and Fiona Tweed…