Do you realize the life in the Himalayas, the crown jewel of India, is under severe threat, thanks to global warming and climate change?
You need not be so surprised! These seemingly mighty mountains you loved to visit are actually quite young, formed only a few million years ago, and have a fragile ecosystem now close to instability. Rapidly decreasing footprints of glaciers and destruction of forests in the lower Himalayas bear testimony to this phenomenon.
What makes the Himalayas so vulnerable
Millions of people living on or close to the Himalayas are vulnerable to the hazards of unsustainable development, which is the cause behind all that climate change and rising temperatures, leading to disasters like the 2013 Kedarnath floods. Scientists attribute the destruction to the rampant human development around Kedarnath and softening of ice on the hills around the temple, due to the global temperatures continually going up.
The poor people in the hills suffered without any mistake of theirs
What makes the matters worse is that the poor inhabitants of these hilly terrains have had no role in harming the environment there. These simple folk lives a very sustainable life, using natural resources only to an extent that was absolutely necessary for their life. They have an age-old tradition of regarding nature as their mother and revere their forests and rivers they are dependent on for their livelihood.
Unique economic challenges in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand, an Indian state nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, faces unique challenges. The industry is almost non-existent here and the villagers have to either migrate to tourist-laden areas or the nearby towns to sustain themselves. You will find scores of villages here without men! Women are left in the homes to fend for themselves and quietly waiting for the men to return with some money.
People have little interest left in tilling and harvesting as the land didn’t produce much and there is a persistent lack of water. Regular crops don’t produce enough to sustain their families.
How hemp caused a turnaround in remote Uttarakhand villages
Hemp Foundation studied the miserable life these poor people were living and worked to find ways they could be pulled out of their utter poverty. We realized hemp could bring a turnaround in their life for a bevy of reasons. It is a super-crop with a number of applications, consumes little water, and brings rich dividends.
Using the residents’ conventional farming skills to source hemp produced organically and created double-layer masks that would not just protect the users from the pollutants around but also make the lives of these hilly residents a bit comfortable.
Time to repair the damage
Jaya has been designed to remind you of the undulating hilly terrain and how we owe to the simple folks there to repair the damage we have caused.
Hemp Foundation roped in women of Uttarakhand to produce these masks as a salute to their motherhood and bring economic relief to them. The objective is to instill self-belief in them and connect their village economy to the global system.
What we hope for is to make an economic pipeline to remote villages in Uttarakhand and improve their daily lives.