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Adapt or Abandon? Hard Choices in the Himalayas

Anthropologists are documenting how global warming is transforming Asia’s water tower and threatening the livelihoods of farmers and herders. On a cold evening in 2012, anthropologist Jiban Mani Poudel sat sharing tea and snacks with mountain herders huddled around a cattle pen in Nepal’s Nhāson Valley. A wizened 63-year-old herder, Gunjaman Gurung, exclaimed, “Norusaiba has almost begun,” referring to the seasonal arrival of cold winds and dewfall, when the meadows slowly turn brown and die, and herders bring their cattle down the Himalayan slopes. For the next six years, over many cups of tea in the mountains, Poudel, who teaches at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, discovered how attuned mountain herding communities are to nature’s cues. Nepal’s traditional herders, for example, set their lives according to nature’s cues, such as ngosho, the season tied to flowering plants. Climate change is reshaping the Himalayas in many ways: While the Upper Mustang region becomes more arid, other areas,...
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Surviving on the Periphery of a City of Earthquakes

Mexico City is one of the most disaster-prone urban areas in the world. Following an earthquake, marginalized communities living on the city’s periphery are exposed to more dangers than just collapsing buildings.

“Not again, please,” thought Sofía López when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on 7 September.

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From Global to Local: Finding Creative Solutions for the Future

The Swiss mountain village of Guttannen faces numerous challenges – and is taking action to address them. (Image credit: MRI / Grace Goss-Durant)

In this article, Professor Rolf Weingartner, MRI Chair 2007-2019, highlights the need for research to engage with local communities in order to jointly develop sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our changing mountains. 

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The MRI: Confronting the Problem of Collective Action

Image by David Mark.

As the MRI Coordination Office celebrates 20 years since it was founded, Gregory Greenwood, MRI Executive Director 2004-2017, reflects on his time at the organization's helm, what has made the MRI a success, and how the MRI can continue to strengthen collective action for our changing mountains.

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In Full Transition: Addressing the Challenges of Our Changing Mountains

Syphoning for lake level lowering and flood protection at Laguna Palcacocha, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Rock and ice avalanches from the surrounding icy peaks can directly impact the lake. (Picture source: H. Frey, April 2015)

The Mountain Research Initiative was established 20 years ago, and no doubt there are important challenges ahead that extend far beyond another 20 years of this organisation. Even at the highest (altitudinal) levels…

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Navigating Towards Sustainability: How Research Networks Can Make a Difference Using the ‘Network Compass’

Addressing complex sustainability problems requires more than scientific knowledge. Researchers must collaborate with societal actors from government, business, and civil society, and engage in the co-production of knowledge and action. How can sustainability-oriented networks effectively facilitate co-production?

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The End of Glacier Guides in New Zealand?

Retreating ice endangers their safety … and their livelihoods.

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Mountains: Sky-Concealing or Unifying?

“Mountains are exhausting, forcing you to walk either uphill or downhill. The closer you get to the Alps, the harder you feel breathing; not because of altitude, but due to the rock walls blocking the view of the sky.”

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Reflections on the MRI Coordination Office at 20

As the MRI Coordination Office turns 20, Professor Harald Bugmann, MRI Chair 2001-2007, reflects on its achievements to date and the importance of its work in the face of an uncertain future for our changing mountains. 

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The Collectif Perce-Neige: For Young Scientists Engaged in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research in Mountain Regions

 

In this blog post, Emmanuel Salim, PhD student at Savoie Mont-Blanc University (USMB), and Raphaël Lachello, University Grenoble-Alps (UGA), share the impetus for forming a collective of young researchers to promote inter- and transdisciplinary research in mountain regions.

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