Uttarakhand’s rich natural environment and thriving tourism sector are threatened by the dangerous effects of climate change. Uttarakhand is well-known for its great biodiversity and gorgeous landscapes. It lies at the foot of the Himalayas. Two of India’s great rivers, the Ganga and the Yurma, originate in Uttarakhand’s glacial fields. The state is host to numerous plant and animal species, many of which are endangered or rapidly disappearing, such as snow leopards and tigers.
Uttarakhand’s natural beauty contributes to its thriving tourism sector. Tourism is Uttarakhand’s greatest source of income. It was the first state in India to establish a Tourism Development Board in order to proactively pursue and cater to this sector. Domestic and international tourists flock to Uttarakhand every year to visit its famed national parks, such as the Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest national park in India, and the Valley of the Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
However, Uttarakhand is now seeing the effects of climate change on its environment. Rising summer temperatures are contributing to glacial melt. Many fear climate change will alter its unique mountainous ecosystem. Like much of India, Uttarakhand is experiencing an abnormally hot and dry summer. Over the last three years, it has received less rainfall than normal, which has adversely affected agricultural productivity.
Yet the government is taking steps to combat climate change. It is establishing an authoritative body to focus on preserving the 1,400 Himalayan glaciers in the state. This committee will work in partnership with neighboring states to better manage water resources and conservation efforts. Uttarakhand is also partnering with the World Food Program to help its agricultural communities, which comprise 78 percent of the state, adapt to climate change.
In this video Luxmi Nautiyal explores the dangerous effects of climate change on Uttarakhand.