Saturday, 14 November 2009

Myagaa - Eight Lakes, Mongolia

Young mother Myagaa lives with her husband and children in a ger that currently overlooks a landscape so breathtakingly beautiful it seems almost surreal. Unable to reach the area by vehicle, we have trekked on horseback for a day to reach her.

Emma looking out over the Eight Lakes valley

She has seen many changes that she associates with global warming. There used to be eight great lakes but some are now tiny and others have even dried up completely. There also used to be many more streams and rivers. Recently she's seen dust rolls here too, which is a worrying new sign of a changing climate.

One of the Eight Lakes reduced to a puddle

This all makes the nomadic herding life more difficult. The animals do not get fat as they should and give less milk. Myagaa worries that her nomadic lifestyle will not be possible in the future. It's a big problem everywhere and most people she knows are worrying about it.

Morning at the lakes

Myagaa believes it's everyone's job to fix climate change but she's not convinced it's possible. She says she can't do much and it's not difficult to see why: this way of life could hardly be lower impact. The family do not have a car, which would be useless in this terrain. Heating is provided from the ubiquitous wood and dung burning stove that resides in the centre of each round ger tent. However, Myagaa tries not to litter and uses yak dung for the stove as much as possible, to avoid cutting down trees. The government here talk a lot about taking action on climate change but Myagaa can't see them doing much yet. Sound familiar?

Myagaa & her husband in front of their ger

Myagaa knows it's possible to live without fossil fuels because this is the ancient way of life Mongolians have been living "since the times of Chinggis Khaan" and beyond. She is optimistic for the future but worries for her children. She is particularly worried that a lack of rain from climate change will force them to leave behind forever the nomadic way of life that she loves.


Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a comment