Building a movement to gather data necessary to combat the impacts of climate change on the, the Himalayas, the world’s largest freshwater resource
LADAKH, INDIA – July 20, 2016 – Waterkeeper Alliance, in partnership with Live to Love International and Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper, founded by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Buddhist Drukpa Lineage, today launched the first-of-its-kind initiative to protect the waters of the Himalayas, the source of fresh water for nearly half the world’s population.
Through the Ladakh component of the Himalayan initiative, which also covers watersheds in Nepal and Bhutan, Waterkeeper Alliance will train 21 Waterkeeper organizations and 50 Drukpa ‘kung-fu’ nuns, to collect and communicate the water quality data needed to advocate for watershed protection in the Himalayan glacier region – also known as the Third Pole.
Water pollution and climate change, combined with the forces of modernization, are deeply affecting the natural habitat and traditional way of life of communities throughout the Himalayas. The impacts from pollution and diminishing quality and quantity of glacier water reach far beyond the Himalayas and into Southeast Asia where water resources are already in great peril.
The overarching goal of the Himalayan Initiative is to protect the water resources of the region by developing and training a network of 50 Waterkeeper organizations over the next year, including 200 ‘kung-fu nuns’ and youth groups in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and by informing and educating millions of citizens across the globe acting to stop pollution and climate change.
“The waters of the Himalayas have become the nexus of a climate battleground,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. “This initiative will grow a movement to address and combat the devastating effects climate change is having on some of the most economically stressed parts of the world. We must put an end to the loss of life and livelihoods from extreme weather events and depleted water resources. Growing a Himalayan Waterkeeper movement is crucial to protecting one of the largest sources of water on the planet and the communities that depend on it.”
His Eminence Thuksey Rinpoche, added: “With our noble and conscious thoughts and actions, we make a better world. So with nobility and profound consciousness, let us take action to protect our waters; the lifeblood of our world.”
“The famous Ladakhi saying ‘Chu Met-na youl met,’ holds a special place in the heart and minds of our people,” said Padma Tashi, Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper. “If there is no water, there is no life. Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper was founded with the understanding that we together with the Ladakhi will ensure that will be clean water in Ladakh.”
In Ladakh, the Indus and Zanskar Rivers and their tributaries have been impacted by the migration of plastic litter due to increased tourism in the area, while at the same time, the rapid melting of glaciers caused by warmer weather is contributing to the drying up of springs and rivers used for drinking water in the region. Moreover, extreme weather events due to climate change that manifest as ‘Himalayan tsunamis’ and flash floods, combined with rapid deforestation, have had devastating impacts throughout the region.
About Waterkeeper Alliance
Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting over 290 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and focusing citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. For more information please visit: www.waterkeeper.org.
About Live to Love
Live to Love International is a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for the 1.3 billion people living in the Himalayas. Through sustainable development initiatives, Live to Love provides medical care, protects natural resources, and promotes equality to provide the next generation of Himalayans with the resources and skills to lead their communities.
Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper
Inspired by the Gyalwang Drukpa, the Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper monitors and helps preserve the water sources of the Himalayas which affect over one billion people in the region. Over 20 affiliates strong, the Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper works in partnership with the Waterkeeper Alliance and Live to Love International to tackle climate change on a grassroots level.