On the occasion of World Water Day, people of different villages in Ladakh, including school children, youth, teachers, village leaders and military officers gathered to celebrate water and also to mourn about the water challenges facing Himalayan valleys in the face of climate change and melting glaciers.
Some 300 people gathered at Shara Phu at 4,400 m altitude. We chose this valley to honour Aba Norfail lay who started his first artificial glacier experiments here three decades ago. 12 villages that had made ice stupas to counter effects of climate change gathered here and Sonam Wangchuk shared as prize money 1.2 million rupees from his Rolex award fund to encourage their efforts. Ice Stupa team of Shara Phuktse bagged the Ice Stupa Award 2018 and got the first prize of 500,000 rupees. They had frozen 7 million litres of water in an ice stupa that stood more than 34m (112 feet) tall. Five other villages shared 2nd and 3rd and other positions worth 700,000 rupees.
As mentioned the 2018 Ice Stupa Award prize money came from Sonam Wangchuk’s Rolex award fund, however for 2019 Ice Stupa Award which was announced today, we welcome individuals or organisations to sponsor the prize money and expenses of roughly 2 million rupees. You may get in touch through the comments in this post. Meanwhile Jain Irrigation Systems who have always been a partner in the Ice Stupa story had supported all the pipes needed by these 12 villages. We thank them and thank you all for your support in different ways.
Ice Stupas may be an interesting concept but we do not consider them as a solution to the global challenge nor a big achievement to boast about. Ice Stupas also symbolise an SOS call from the Himalayan valleys. The real solution is with the governments of big nations and the people living in big cities. If they take measures, make planet friendly policies and adopt eco-friendly lifestyles that cut down emissions, then and only then will there be a hope for us in the mountains.
Today Ladakh appeals to people of the world to “PLEASE LIVE SIMPLY, so that we in the mountains can SIMPLY LIVE !”
And we appeal to you to please share this SOS message from the Himalayas to as many people as possible in the world, so that we can simply live!