The people of the Ladakh community of the Himalaya are some of the most inspirational people in this world. They work hard to be able to survive and overcome the changes in their environment. Global warming is causing the glaciers which they rely on to irrigate their crops, to retreat in India. Without these life giving glaciers, their crops would not yield and die and which would in turn cause the slow withering of those self- sustaining communities.
The genius behind a plan to make man-made glaciers is one who should be honored for his efforts to save his community and the hundreds of lives that rely on farming. Mr. Norphel, Glacier Man, came up with an idea that would adapt to these climatic changes and one which would help the farmer continue living in their current settlements without having to be forced to leave. His artificial glaciers are one of the first human efforts at human adaptation.
Norphel’s idea: The villagers build a stone reservoir up high in the mountains that would collect precious water which would be used to help grow an abundant yield. The plan is to divert the surplus of autumn and winter run-offs into these large rock lined reservoirs and hold the water until it freezes, as glaciers, during the winter months only to melt during spring and quench the lands’ thirst.
Before this project was implemented, farmers stopped having snow cover their fields and their planting season kept receding until they could no longer moisten the soil and harvest their crops.
Now, however, with the help of these artificial glaciers, the ice melts early enough to rescue and save these farmers from having a dry season with no crops to harvest.
Mr. Norphel has already helped build 10 artificial glaciers and has rescued hundreds of farmlands and communities. Despite having one of them destroyed in 2006 due to unexpected heavy rainfall and floods, they are in the making of a better built one.
These reservoirs are built by the villagers’ own hands, sweat and tears and they are ones to be admired. To strive to help oneself and one's community is an act that should be mentioned and praised. I respect and appreciate these people’s efforts to help themselves… they are not sitting down, doing nothing, complaining about their situation wanting others to come to their aid and rescue…. They are doing something about the difficult situation they found themselves in and are learning to roll with the punches!