Military intervention at Nepal’s fastest growing glacial lake

22 June 2016, by

Ten kilometres south of Mount Everest lies Nepal’s “fastest-growing glacier lake”— Imja Tsho. In March 2016, acting to mitigate potential threats the lake might pose to over 96,000 people downriver, the Nepalese Army began installing syphons to lower the water level by 10 feet (3 m). The army’s engineering department, commissioned by Nepal’s Department of Hydrology […]

Transnational Solutions to Preserve Yak Populations in Himalayas

14 June 2016, by

In the extreme altitudes and harsh conditions of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region, yak herding is more than a way of life–it is a way to survive. Environmental change currently threatens yak populations in the region, and undermines the livelihoods of the communities they support. However, a recent report raises hopes of protecting yaks through […]

Indigenous Art Promotes Resilience to Climate Change

8 June 2016, by

Indigenous art can play a role in transmitting environmental knowledge between generations and across cultures, according to an article published recently in the journal Ecology and Society. Inuit people in northern Canada produce art that conveys their perceptions of environmental change to younger generations within their community and to the wider world Authors Kaitlyn Rathwell […]

How Melting Glaciers Can Change Regional Climate

9 March 2016, by

Fresh water melting from glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere could make contributions to climate change, according to the recent study, “Glacial lake drainage in Patagonia (13-8 kyr) and response of the adjacent Pacific Ocean,” by Neil F. Glasser and others in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. These findings are consistent with previous studies in North America […]

Western Balkans Outlook

UNEP Prepares Mountain Communities for Climate Change

2 March 2016, by

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) released the first two reports of a new series on regional mountain-based adaptation in order to encourage urgent action to protect mountain ecosystems from the impacts of climate change. On December 11, 2015— International Mountain Day— the UNEP launched reports for the Western Balkans and the Southern Caucasus regions, as part […]

A Lake in Bolivia Dries Up

25 February 2016, by

In December 2015, while the world’s eyes were on the UN Climate Conference in Paris, Bolivia’s Lake Poopó—once the country’s second-largest lake, with an area of 2700 square kilometers–dried up completely. This event was first recognized by the regional government, located in Oruro, and soon drew national and international concern. This attention has opened a […]

Nuns in Nepal Rebuild Sustainably

11 February 2016, by

For more than eight months I have been working on a project to help restore a remote mountaintop Tibetan nunnery in Nepal, which was devastated by the earthquake last year. These activities draw directly on the religious traditions of the nuns and on indigenous building practices of the region. Four days after the earthquake on […]

Helicopters: The Eye-in-the-Sky for Glacier Research

10 February 2016, by

With global warming, glaciers are melting, and mountain ranges in the mid-latitudes such as the Swiss Alps are showing significant glacier retreat. For decades researchers have measured the length and area of glaciers to see if they are shrinking or not— a key symptom of disequilibrium— which can be done using photographs and satellites. But a key […]

Climate Refugees from the Peruvian Andes

28 January 2016, by

Two recent studies offer complementary accounts of the ways that glacier retreat and other impacts of climate change have displaced indigenous people from their communities in the Peruvian Andes. One describes the people who have left as refugees, the other as migrants. Both emphasize the seriousness and apparent irreversibility of this large population movement Teófilo […]

Do Village Traditions Trump Adaptation?

22 December 2015, by

The village of Manang, high in the Himalayas in Nepal, is using economic diversification to stave off the effects of climate change, but will soon reach a point where more adaptation is needed, Katie Konchar and her coauthors warned in a new study in the Journal of Ethnobiology. The team used semi-structured interviews and innovative photography […]

Meeting at COP21 Seeks Coordination of Glacier Countries

10 December 2015, by

Eighteen people, representing seven small mountain countries, gathered on 8 December at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris to discuss glacier retreat and its consequences. They reviewed the issues that they considered most serious and considered the possibility of forming an international organization of glacier countries. This meeting included representatives from Tajikistan, Bhutan, Peru, Bolivia, […]

At COP21, Afghanistan’s Adaptive Capacity Remains a Concern

8 December 2015, by

Ahead of the Paris conference on climate change in December 2015, conflict-ridden Afghanistan submitted its climate action plan in October to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The plan’s assessment of the country’s capacity to adapt to climate change and the associated challenges of doing so clearly outline genuine concerns that potentially may impact the livelihoods […]