On December 4, 2009, high up in Leh, Ladakh, one of the most remote and mountainous areas of India, over 1,500 people gathered for a beautiful display of their concern for climate change and their call for a world returned to less than 350 ppm CO2.
Ladakh, like more and more places around the globe, is already facing real challenges in face of climate change -- unpredictable weather, floods, and the prospects of diminished water supply from glacial melt. All this and more, is reason enough for the people of Ladakh to stand up and call for bold action around the world as they did today.
Fortunately, news of the 350 movement is gradually reaching more and more parts of the planet, and in Ladakh, a visiting student, Will Wickham, carried the message with him. When he a arrived a few months ago, he met others interested in leading a new 350 project there, and today we get to enjoy the remarkable images of the first 350 event to take place at over 3,500 meters (roughly 12,000 ft).
Here is the full press release from the event:
Today in the North-East region of Ladakh over 1500 members of the local community turned out in Leh the capital city to join in events aimed at raising awareness regarding climate change. The event was organised by the Ladakh Young Buddhist Association in collaboration with the US based NGO 350.org, “it was a success,” said Will Wickham the 350.org organiser of the festival.
Special guests included the Vice President of the well renowned Ladakh Buddhist Association Thupten Phuljung who spoke to the crowd, 97 year old Tashi Angchuck from the village of Skurbuchn charismatically shared with the attendees his experience of changing weather patterns in the region such as unprecedented cold spells in the spring and autumn months in addition to the increasing rainfall in recent years. It was such intense rain that destroyed over 20 houses and washed away local Nepali labourers in the village of Phyang in 2006.
Throughout the day there were drama performances from local schools groups, music from the Ladakh Scout Band, a movie showing in Hindi of Al Gores ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a human sign in the shape of 350, as well as a poster competition. Rigzen Namgyal from Landon Model School in Shey village was awarded first prize for his poster that most creatively conveyed climate change.
The days speeches were commoned by the theme of empowering community to take action and address the impending climate disaster, with particular attention towards lowering the earths carbon ratio to a sustainable level of 350 parts per million in the atmosphere. Starting climate action groups, planting a tree on ones birthday and using less non-renewable energy sources were suggested as small steps to be taken in the direct future.
All images and text copyright Conor Ashleigh 2008
A complete photo story on climate change in Ladakh that particularly cover this 350.org event will be available on 07.12.2008 at www.conorashleigh.com
Requests to publish images or to attain high resolution copies,
Ladakh # 96229 53952
All India# 998160 81605