Sustainable Himalayas is a project that aims at making the community of Himalayas self-dependant in terms of basic needs and livelihood by the end of 2019. The people living at higher altitudes, just because of lack of knowledge, system and resources, face dire problems at the level of food and water security, unavailability of power and non-consistent source of livelihood resulting from social, economic and environmental crises.
Under this project, Earth5R and partner organisations will work towards developing a system that can address above issues together as a system in a sustainable manner rather than solve each one individually. The major work areas that this project is focusing on are:
- Rainwater Harvesting: Though the Himalayas are called the water towers of India, the very people of the mountains have a shortage of water. There is a shortage of water for irrigation and drinking across the Himalayan region. With few hand pumps located in the villages and most having contaminated water, the people have to walk miles every day to get potable water. Earth5R is developing rainwater harvesting systems in these remote areas that can curb the water crises for the villages permanently.
- Composting and Organic Gardening: Disposal of waste is becoming a great issue for the mountains as the terrain is not very transport-friendly. The improper disposal causes, disease transmission, fire hazard, odour nuisance, atmospheric and water pollution and economic losses. Earth5R is working towards this problem by initiating composting in the mountains. Each village will have its own composting system and the fertiliser produced with it will be utilised by the very people of the village to help the organic gardens that produce fruits and vegetables. The villages are trained by the Earth5R team imparting knowledge and suggesting methods to start organic gardens which will restore food security for the people.
- One Solar: “One solar”, the project of making the buildings of India energy efficient is now extended towards solving the energy crises of Himalayas. Earth5R is installing solar lights and solar water pumps in these villages providing them energy security.
- Afforestation: Over the past decade, because of urbanisation and wood extraction, Himalaya has significantly lost its green cover. It is expected that by 2100, one-third of the total cover would be lost disrupting the natural flow of water and hence extinction of one-quarter of endemic species. Earth5R is targeting plantation of a few trees such as Rhododendrons and Lac which can not only increase the green cover but can also help the community economically.
- Sustainable Livelihood: Livelihood is a complex issue in mountains because of lack of connectivity and resources. The creative skills of thousands of Himalayan women go in vain owing to similar reasons. Earth5R is solving this issue creatively by providing “Livelihood Education for all”. Few examples of sustainable livelihood solutions by Earth5R are- Handicraft from industrial waste cloths, Fuel pellets from agricultural waste resulting into smokeless cooking and reduction in the cutting of trees, Compost creation from food waste replace harmful fertilisers. Various such training are carried out by the Earth5R teams for entire villages such that no families are left behind.