Ladakh, in northern India, is one of highest and most remote human habitats on earth. Located between the Himalaya range to the south and the Karakoram range to the north, it is a region beset by water scarcity, fragile ecosystems and extreme climatic variation. Ladakhis have resourcefully dealt with these harsh conditions for over a thousand years, using longstanding practices that integrate environmental knowledge with social and religious understandings. Now confronting globalization and climate change, they are grappling with how to develop in a sustainable manner. These environmental challenges represent a unique natural setting for first-hand understanding of social adaptation and sustainability.
The program, run in partnership with the Institute for Village Studies, is an intensive field course that encompasses academic studies in Himalayan culture, history, religion, sociology, and ecology, with service learning projects. A primary focus will be on how Himalaya communities respond to critical social and environmental challenges in ways that promote sustainability and wellbeing. The five-week program includes four and half weeks in northern India, where we will work on our Artificial Glacier Project with Stongdey Village and assist the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust in their community-based conservation projects.