“learning from ladakh”

I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about where I’m going and what I’ll be doing this summer, which is rather difficult to address in a passing conversation.  The short answer is that I’m going to India to look at the effects of globalization and development on rural societies and the environment.  The long answer is that I’m going to Ladakh, or “Little Tibet,” which is located in northern India, and lies on the Tibetan plateau.  The high altitude (10,000-14,000 ft) and extreme climate has protected it against colonization and foreign influences for hundreds of years, until roads opened in the 1970s and trade and tourism to the region was promoted.  Ladakh is “one of the world’s last remaining traditional cultures where the connection to nature is still deep and communities still retain some of their strength,” but that has rapidly changed in the last few decades, and “modernisation is undermining the very foundations of the traditional culture and giving rise to a familiar pattern of devastating environmental and social problems.”

As far as the Learning from Ladakh program, which is run by the International Society for Ecology and Culture, I will be living with a farming family in rural Ladakh, and participating in workshops, where “participants will gain a deeper understanding of this process of change, and the economic, environmental and psychological costs of the global economy.”

You can read more about the program here:

http://www.isec.org.uk/pages/ladakh.html

http://www.isec.org.uk/pages/learningfromladakh.html

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