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 […]

Threat from Himalayan Glaciers Larger Than Expected

18 November 2015, by

By Jingchao Wang and Xuefei Miao Impacts of climate change in river systems are likely to have considerable social, economic, ecological and political implications, according to a new study published in the journal of Regional Environmental Change. In order to understand governance mechanisms for climate adaptation in the region, a systematic review methodology was applied […]

Mountain Spirits and the Shaking Earth

20 October 2015, by

After the devastating earthquakes in Nepal earlier this year, Sienna Craig began to conduct field research in Mustang to understand how communities in the area perceived and dealt with the earthquake. Craig is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. She is the co-editor of HIMALAYA, the flagship journal of […]

Courtesy of BBC

Political Tug of War Over Greenland’s Mining Industry

8 October 2015, by

Greenlanders are engaging in a fierce ongoing debate about whether to develop the country’s onshore mineral resources into a robust mining industry. Since gaining political autonomy from Kingdom of Denmark in 2009, the government of the world’s largest non-continental island has long been brainstorming how to solve its increasing financial woes. When a 2008 US Geological […]

An Interview with Mattias Borg, Author of Andean Waterways

17 September 2015, by

The Danish anthropologist Mattias Borg Rasmussen has recently published a book, Andean Waterways: Resource Politics in Highland Peru (University of Washington Press, 2015), which addresses the economic, political, social and culture dynamics of a community that is facing glacier retreat and water scarcity. The book shows how environmental change and institutional politics are intertwined in […]