New Delhi: Fellows under the auspices of the Naropa Fellowship undertook a comprehensive study of sustainable development and conservation models in the Himalayan region.
The study was part of a specialised ‘Himalayan Sustainable Development and Conservation’ course to understand and document the biodiversity of Himalayan region conducted by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). Their mission is to generate rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge for achieving environmental conservation and sustainable development, to enable the use of this knowledge by policy makers and society, and to train the next generation of environmental leaders. Some of the intended learning outcomes from this course were to understand the biodiversity around us and develop ways to document and also use this knowledge for eco-tourism purposes.
The course acquainted Naropa Fellows in simple citizen science protocols that contribute to enhancing the understanding of Himalayan ecosystem and encourage them to engage as ecotourism or cultural tourism operators, as citizen botanists and natural historians to record phenology along Ladakh’s trails. They were shown techniques for data collection, compilation and managing using mobile platforms like the Open Data Kit and use the collected data as content for creating virtual tours using Google suite of tools, which could be used by Eco guides to depict the natural history of the region.
The course on Climate Policy and Renewable Energy, gave students an overview of the international discussions around climate change that drives a national shift to increasing the proportion of energy derived from renewable sources. They were exposed to current status of the renewable energy sector and the lesser known environmental costs associated with them. As part of this exercise, Naropa Fellows examined the policies around climate change through international climate negotiations and India’s international commitments, to understand how this translates into climate policies and renewable energy.
The Fellows also went on a field trip to Guphuks, Gya village and the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency solar plant as part of the course. The objective of this field trip was to introduce the field of ecosystems services and well-being, combining ecological and wellbeing assessments.