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Culture & Religion

Nepal’s Sherpas Are Tired of Climate Change Researchers

The influx of glacial researchers into the Himalayas has angered Nepal's indigenous population, which claims that its needs aren't being taken into account.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Nepal’s Sherpa community is upset with glaciologists and international research organizations who they say aren’t including them and their concerns in their studies. Recent glacial melts have caused the creation of dangerously full lakes, some of which have overflowed and caused flooding of towns and terrain. Meanwhile, rumors of potential outbursts have caused unnecessary panic among the locals. The Sherpas also say that too many researchers are coming to their area, and that they limit their focus to specific lakes, such as the fast-growing Imja, while other, more dangerous lakes are ignored.

What’s the Big Idea?

For their part, some organizations say they have always worked with the local community. One in particular held workshops and created flyers to raise awareness about their efforts. However, some researchers criticize their fellows for even being there: Studies of Himalayan glaciers “are often conducted at lower parts of the mountains that are easily accessible and the results are then extrapolated for the entire region.” Lack of coordination among different groups also contributes to the frustration felt. At this point, according to one Sherpa representative, “many…do not even want to hear the words ‘climate change’ these days.”

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