Celebrating the World Environment Day in Himalaya

The Alaknanda Ghaati Shilpi Federation (AAGAAS), ECI Affiliate from the Himalayan region of India, has been celebrating World Environment Day using the Earth Charter as an inspiration for their biodiversity conservation actions. 

They continued their campaign to reduce the use of polyethylene bags in the Holy Hindu Shrines in the Himalaya. AAGAS staff developed new designs of baskets as gift packs, which can be used as souvenirs of the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand (India). These baskets are made of Holy Himalayan Bamboo called Ringaal (Arundinaria spp.). By using this bamboo, they’re supporting the local economy and efforts to conserve this plant.

Another activity to reuse waste was the creation of pots made of plastic bottles. They created 500 pots in Pipalkoti town (where AAGAS is based), with the support of many volunteers who learned not only how to make these pots, but also to use them to plant flower and fruit plants to decorate the biotourism park that this organization manages. 

Lastly, they organized a field trip with students from the Indian School of Business to study how climate change is impacting the high altitude alpine meadow in the Higher Himalaya, and how to use this information for environmental education.

It hasn’t been easy for AAGAAS to carry out these actions for World Environment Day, since natural disasters have hit the region where they operate, and therefore their funding and priorities have been affected. In the summer of 2013, unexpected rains affected the top layer of several Himalayan glaciers, which provoked destructive floods in Kedarnath Valley in Uttarakhand State.