What's with the Climate?

Voices of a Subcontinent grappling with Climate Change

Climate Change and The Struggle to Keep Up Cultural Practices

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Sharanya Sanjeev*

Is climate change all about raising temperatures we say? We at Climate Tracker are taking a closer and distinctive outlook. Time-tested survival techniques and cultural traditions are falling prey to detrimental human activities. Once joyous occasions, now conservational obligations.

Dhe Village of The Himalayas

Inheriting Indian and Chinese traditions, the present-day Tibet celebrates New Years’ eve called Losar in a unique mix of music, dance, skits, food, and drinks. Dating back to prehistoric times, the festive celebration is marked by offering grains that is used to brew Chhaang, an alcoholic drink like beer.

Climate change has had detrimental effects on this age-old festival and similar traditional practices. Once a fortnight full of merry making has now been reduced to a tradition that the community is battling to conserve for the generations to come.

Amount of snow in these regions have been considerably reduced in the past few years, shrinking the volume of snow-fed water resources. Decline in water levels has affected grazing lands by narrowing their expanse, thereby fatally affecting livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep.

Ancient Maldivian calendar forecast turning futile

The Nakaiy-monsoon calendar played a crucial role in the lives of Maldivians, accurately predicting best times to fish, travel, cultivate crops, build houses, etc. Comprised of ninety-nine percent water and one percent land, lives of Maldivians surrounded the monsoon calendar’s forecast. Climate change has now made this ancient technique unreliable. Unpredictable weather changes are agonising people, driving them away from their ethos.

Progressively drying lake in Peru

Year after year, the Huacapunco thank their goddess Panchamama, Mother Earth in the Peruvian culture, for the prosperity their land adorned and ask her blessings to offer perennial grant of water. Recent times have proven hard for this tribe. They continue the tradition of dancing at the foot of the lagoon in colourful attires, seeking the goddess’ blessing, but in vain, as the lake gradually drying up with no signs of recuperation.

Making a difference

We, at Climate Tracker, a network of 3000 journalists and photographers track these adverse changes and voice out to save cultures and traditions that are falling victim to human activities. We are publishing a photobook documenting these changes and striving to complete it just in time for the UN Climate Change negotiations

How you can help

Support us by funding this Project where you will aid journalists and photographers visit these communities, engross themselves in their culture and traditions, document climate change effects and publish the photobook by November, 2017.

(Sharanya Sanjeev is part of a youth global organisation – Climate Tracker. Climate Tracker is a group of 3000 journalists and photographers that track climate change, create awareness amongst stakeholders and present our report during the UN Climate change negotiations.)

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