A resilient community shaping positive climate narratives
A mountainous, cold stretch of arid desert, bordered by Ladakh in the North, Tibet in the East, Lahaul in the South and Kinnaur in the South-East, Spiti derives its name from its geographical position in between the Indian peninsular mass and the Tibetan plateau.
Here, steep slopes and treacherous passes feed into glacial rivers, while naked rocks stand as sentinels against the horizon, dominating the landscape with their serrated summits.
Culture and tradition live in harmony upon this weathered land of Gods, where ancient knowledge and religious belief flutter in the vibrant colours of prayer flags upon the frigid winds. Green patches of hard-cultivated vegetation dot the land in scattered smatterings, while liquefied streams erupt from glaciers hidden in the oxygen-sparse heights, trickling into the valley in glassy rivulets and rushes.
Spiti is also a sensitive terrain with harsh winters making it extremely difficult to survive, with temperatures dipping upto -25 degrees in December. A time when icy winds sweep across the mountains and everyone in the family gathers in one room around a burning stove, to help stay warm.
Winter is Coming
While the Spiti valley is home to many beliefs, and just as many gods and deities, there is but one Supreme Being that presides over the law of the land – the Unstoppable Force of Nature.
Life in the summer months is spent in preparation for the winter. Water is scarce, trapped in frozen glaciers and streams that thaw only for a few months every year. Farming is a universal discipline in the summer, when crops of barley and green pea must be nurtured by sporadic rainfall, brought to harvest and stored for the cold months. Animals are reared and bred for agriculture and food, while communities huddle together to educate and protect their young.
The people of these middle lands live transitory lives. Just as every grain of this sandy terrain was once a mountain, a cliff or a crag, worn down to powdery remnants by the constant battering of wind, rain, and ground-shifting landslides, the locals in the area carry out their lives with but one certainty:
"Nothing is permanent, and Winter is coming"
Spiti at the brink of Climate Change
Survival and Sustainability are interchangeable ideas in the Spiti valley. With extending summers, unwarranted rains, volatile weather conditions and climate change at it's brink of affecting life in inaccessible and sensitive regions like Spiti, the locals face the brunt of rapid human civilization and development, with limited access to resources and planning.
Spiti is losing its pristine landscapes to glacial retreats, while fresh snow becoming more alien with every passing year. With no ice, there is no water to be found. With no water, there can be no agriculture. Without agriculture, there can be no communities. Without communities, there can be no stories - and without stories, the knowledge of the land is lost to time.
As winter approaches, the middle-land is effectively isolated. Roads and traversable routes may be cut off for six months or more, leaving locals to fend for themselves as the arable land freezes over.
In spite of challenges, Spiti carries forward the beacon of hope and belief with inspiring stories of climate, social and community leadership by locals in partnership with government and NGO's, caving the path for the future generations to value it's beauty.
Role of local leadership &
community involvement in climate actions
Sparking inspiration at the front, these resilient communities marry ancient wisdom with sustainability to use every resource to its most optimal state. With active leadership from a team of experts from Spiti Ecosphere and community collaboration, Spiti is leading the front on the battle towards climate change and social entrepreneurship.
A social enterprise and collaborative effort of the local community of Spiti and professionals from diverse backgrounds, Spiti Ecosphere is cognizant of the new while preserving the old. With a focus on creating sustainable livelihoods linked to nature and culture conservation, Spiti Ecosphere aims to address the triple-bottom-line of conservation, development and economies, which also forms the very foundation of their genesis.
Ecosphere’s versatile initiatives that range from eco-travel, health
& organics, handicrafts and renewable energy integrate all that we have learned from our grass root research and operations in the Spiti Valley and is our humble attempt to further consolidate our efforts towards conservation, livelihoods and sustainable development. Addressing this triple bottom-line is the key objective of our social enterprise.
on a quest to discover & document
Untold Spiti is an initiative to preserve these stories and spread awareness about the dire consequences of unsustainable lifestyles on the fragile ecosystems of our planet.
In collaboration with Spiti Ecosphere, our team, accompanied by 10 multi-disciplined storytellers, traversed the valley in search of tales of conservation, culture and sustainability.
Join us, as we unravel our learnings from this frozen landscape through the lens of our participants, who are making a sustainable impact through the medium of art and visual communication.
The Impact Society
In Association with:
Rakesh Rao & Ishita Khanna
Local Support by:
Norbu Cherring, Ttakpa & Shiv
Pinkie Makhijani, Tenzin Tsering
Payal Kumar, Amit, Apoorve Arya, Madhura, Netra
Pooja, Zarna, Sae, Reshma Nagada, Priyanshi Thakkar
The Impact Society is built upon the backbone of spreading scientific and cultural awareness via visual communication. As part of the expedition, our crew with the participants shot, edited, and scripted mini-stories of Impact in the Spiti Valley.
Check the preview here!
The Impact Society
We are a multi-disciplinary collective composed of writers, filmmakers, photographers,
creators, artists, explorers, conservationists, scientists & more, that aims to drive social change & build collective awareness towards the dire issues of our times, through
experiential learning & impact-creation initiatives.