Climate Migration

The World Bank have published a 256 page report on the projected impacts climate change will have on migration around the world.

Migration patterns in south Asia have been dominated by movements from rural to urban areas as families search for economic security. The World Bank are predicting a partial reversal of this over the coming decades.

As climate change takes hold, low lying and coastal areas will become too hot and in many cases too flooded to be livable. The projected impacts of this on migration vary. The report looks at three different scenarios, all three predict significant flows of people within and between countries in South Asia. 

  Source : World Bank (2018)  Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration , Available online via:  http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/03/19/climate-change-could-force-over-140-million-to-migrate-within-countries-by-2050-world-bank-report  

Source: World Bank (2018) Groundswell - Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, Available online via: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/03/19/climate-change-could-force-over-140-million-to-migrate-within-countries-by-2050-world-bank-report 


Climate change is not likely to be the main factor driving migration, economics will continue to play a major role. But, climate will become more important and more influential over time. How important depends on how quickly and how high temperatures rise. 

The Glacier Trust works with communities in remote mountainous regions of Nepal, we enable climate change adaptation through agriculture, water supply and education programmes. The Groundswell report predicts that upland regions will see in-migration as people look to inhabit slightly cooler climes. 

The southern Indian highlands, especially between Bangalore and Chennai will be climate in-migration hotspots. Parts of Nepal, as well as northwestern India, also see climate in-migration. (World Bank, 2018, p. 121). 

We have to remember of course that the highland regions are already facing a lot of challenges due to climate change and these are likely to intensify. Indeed, the trend at the moment in the Himalayas is still out-migration as farming is getting harder and more unpredictable. People go to cities in search of work and a stable income. Our projects are changing this, farmers are staying and in some cases returning as they recognise the opportunities that now exist thanks to the project work we are enabling.

If the mountain regions become a refuge for climate migrants, we need to do all we can to ensure they are livable with thriving agricultural economies. We are already demonstrating the possibilities and hope to continue to innovate to show the way. 


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Courage not hope

Climate scientists. People don’t listen to them much, but if you do this is what you’ll hear: the chances of avoiding dangerous climate change are now almost zero. 3°C or more of global warming looks inevitable, it is 95% certain.

We are in the midst of collective acceptance of this reality, the hope we’ve held for so long is ebbing away, the game is up, we failed to stop this thing. Sadness, regret, grief and anger are sweeping through the environment movement. This is an emotional moment; and a juncture.

We've covered this before, but two incredible short essays have been written this month; we'd love you to read them: 

  1. We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change
    by Kate Marvel.
  2. I Felt Despair About Climate Change—Until a Brush With Death Changed My Mind
    by Alison Spodek Keimowitz.

All over the world, as temperatures rise, people will suffer. How much they suffer is down to us, we can enable them to adapt so that the very worst impacts are avoided. Every donation you make fills a family in Nepal with hope, hope that they will be able to adapt.  

Enable climate change adaptation in Nepal by donating to The Glacier Trust today. 

Striking at the root

Eradicating poverty, whether it is through climate change adaptation projects or any other method, is not a straightforward task. We do what we can, but we are also aware that there are macro level economic and political forces that drive poverty. We feel weak in comparison, it is easy to feel resigned and resolving to just dealing with the consequences. Especially if your are as small as TGT; as one of our T-Shirts says 'If you can't beat them, adapt'.

But we mustn't remain blissfully (or willfully) ignorant of the bigger picture or leave claims of progress unquestioned. 

Dr. Jason Hickel from London School of Economics explores this and more in his recent book 'The Divide'. The most urgent question he raises is whether charity is working or whether, in fact, we have a 'development delusion'? The delusion being that poverty is falling and that we are on course for the UN Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty by 2030.

According to Hickel, the benefits of charity and aid are hugely outweighed by the problems caused by sovereign debt and the linked system of ‘remote control’ power. These two structural factors are preventing countries from developing. Hickel implies that richer countries know this and are engaged in a deliberate ploy; they prevent true development, to stave off competition. He makes a very persuasive case.

The NGO sector, too, is implicated in spreading the 'development delusion'. Charities like Oxfam are, by coercion, compelled to continue telling the story that 'development' is working. They do so to protect their very existence, they are tied into funding streams that demand continued allegiance to the status quo of the global economic order. But by spreading the delusion, they mask over the reality of sovereign debt, structural adjustment, imperialist hangovers and the workings of the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation. The combined impact of these is a world of rising inequality, both between countries and within them.

Aware of all this, what is an NGO to do? Charities, large and small, should stop doing what they are doing. We are able to lessen the impact of economic failings, environmental disasters and so on through our work. And until the system changes we must continue to enable change as best we can - if you can't beat them adapt. But we must do this with our eyes open and take care not accept the current economic order as a 'fait accompli'. We must not leave UN / World Bank / large NGO assertions that poverty is declining unchallenged. There are things we can do, sharing Hickel's book and articles is a start[1]. 

Chapter 8 of The Divide, opens with this quote from Henry David Thoreau, it is as cautionary as it is challenging:

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce misery which he strives in vain to relieve. 

So how do we 'hack at the branches' of poverty and climate change (those twin and related evils), while also 'striking at the root'? Indeed, can we do both? To be honest, we are unsure, we are exploring this. What follows is where we've got to so far, we'd love to hear your thoughts too.

Small charities, like ours, are only ever equipped to 'hack at the branches' - we enable remote mountain communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change. But, we can maybe 'strike at the root' a bit too.

Coffee - a crop we are supporting farmers to cultivate, harvest and sell - is sold by developing countries to developed countries in green bean form. A green bean is one which has not yet been roasted. But, it is during the roasting process that value is added to a raw material.

The process of converting a raw material into a final product is key to profit making in any manufacturing process. It is why, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, raw cotton was imported to the UK and then turned into fabric. The cost of converting cotton into fabric was far less than the price at which it was then sold. The same is true for coffee, a roasted coffee bean commands a far higher price than a green bean.

We are in the early stages of coffee production in Deusa and Waku, but we are already in conversation with Not1Bean a social enterprise that has a unique guarantee. Not one of the coffee beans that they sell has been roasted outside the country in which it was grown.  As a consequence, the financial value added to the coffee bean during roasting stays within the community that grew it. This arrangement also supports jobs at roasting facilities that wouldn't previously have existed. Not1Bean are currently only working with farmers in South America, but they hope - and we hope - they will be able to set farmers up with roasting equipment in Nepal soon.

This will 'strike at the root' of poverty as it strengthens the manufacturing sector in Nepal, driving up economic activity and income into the country. It is a model that can be replicated in other areas of agriculture and other economic sectors. Of course, unfavourable trading relationships will still be an inhibitor and Nepal still needs to cope with the impacts of decades of structural adjustment, but it is a programme of work that shines a light on an economic system that badly needs reform. 

The Glacier Trust, working with partners like Not1Bean and with our eyes wide open to the dangers of the 'development delusion' will continue to do what we can to strike at the root. But, we are also pragmatic; we must continue our climate change adaptation work with great energy and commitment. Maybe we should change our T-Shirt to 'Until we beat them, adapt'? 

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1. Hickel's writings are very accessible, as well as The Divide, we recommend the following articles:
Could you live on $1.90 a day? That's the international poverty line ;
It will take 100 years for the world’s poorest people to earn $1.25 a day ;
Time for degrowth: to save the planet, we must shrink the economy ; 

Interactive map

Duncan Clark from data visualization studio Flourish has created a brilliant interactive map to show how many times temperature records have been broken over the last two decades.

Here's what Flourish say about it:

The winter of 2018 has seen some extreme cold. When the polar vortex froze the US east coast, some people took this as evidence that global warming is a myth. Something similar is now happening as the “Beast from the East” grips Europe. But analysing hundreds of millions of weather records to look for all-time high and low temperatures tells a different story. 

Click the arrow button to begin

You can learn more about the map and how it was made on the Flourish website. For an handy Q&A article on what the 'Beast from the East' snow storm means for Climate Change, check out this guardian article

Frederick Mulder Foundation

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We are delighted to announce that The Glacier Trust has been awarded a grant of £30,000 spread over three years by the Frederick Mulder Foundation.

This grant is one of three that together fully cover our core costs. This means we can continue to guarantee that 100% of your donation will go to enabling climate change adaptation in Nepal. 

Staff, volunteers and trustees at The Glacier Trust would like to thank the Frederick Mulder Foundation for their generous support.  

Please visit frederickmulderfoundation.org.uk to learn more about the work they support. 

Hope you can spread

Daniel Oberhaus published an article on Motherboard (a branch of Vice magazine) last week. He looked at the emotional toll Climate Change is having on us as we worry more and more about the impact it is having. Oberhaus reports on a thread of tweets by climate scientist turned journalist Eric Holthaus and a condition psychologists are terming pre-traumatic stress disorder. Holthaus was interviewed for the piece and concluded with this quote:

"... climate change is in some ways inevitable at this point, so we have to accept that and realize that there's still positive things we can do in our lifetimes that will make the world better for people who will come after us."

As hard as it is to find something positive to say in the face of the looming climate crisis, or any grave problem, we feel compelled to try. Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for saying ‘I have a dream’ not ‘I have a nightmare’. When we talk about the gravity of the climate crisis, we firstly want audiences to empathise with and perhaps share our feelings of despair, but we don’t want to leave them in that pit of despair. We want to offer them some sense of hope. It was maybe what Oberhaus was doing by ending with the Holthaus quote above.

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As Climate Change tightens it’s grip, it will hit the most vulnerable first. Those who are least able to use money to emigrate themselves out of harms way and those least able to build large flood defences, air conditioning systems, roads that do not collapse in the rainy season, water supply systems and so on. There are millions (maybe billions) of people, all over the world, in countries rich and poor, who are vulnerable in this way. As they learn about Climate Change and the fate that awaits them, are they hopeful? What can we do to offer them hope? 

In wealthier countries like the UK, many of us will live out our lives comparatively well insulated from the worst impacts of climate change (thanks to our relative personal and national wealth). Observing the ways we live, those most vulnerable to Climate Change might easily conclude that we are content to ignore them. This of course isn't true, we care deeply. When we learn about flood victims, farmers who have had their crops destroyed and abandoned mountain villages, we are moved and feel something of the despair Eric Holthaus was describing.

In Nepal, vulnerable communities live in hope that TGT and other NGOs will increase their support for climate change adaptation projects. Management of that hope is a delicate process for NGOs, we must provide hope, but we can not over promise. In the UK too we have a role. We can show that positive things are being done to enable climate change adaptation and that they are working - this can help ease the despair (the pre-traumatic stress) we are feeling about climate change. We can also give people an opportunity to take positive action by helping them fundraise or donate money to fund our project work in Nepal.  

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DON'T DESPAIR

Take a look at our project news section to learn more about what we do and how we are enabling people in remote mountain communities to adapt to climate change. 

TAKE POSITIVE ACTION

Fundraise for The Glacier Trust, or any other NGO that does great work in the field of Climate Change Adaptation. If you are sporty, or like a physical challenge, how about doing a bespoke fundraising challenge

Make a donation to The Glacier Trust. 100% of the money you donate will be spent in Nepal on projects that enable climate change adaptation. You can send a cheque, donate securely via Virgin Money Giving, or set up a standing order to make a regular gift. Please don't forget to Gift Aid your donation if you are eligible.

What is Agroforestry?

There was an excellent article in the Guardian earlier this week on the role Agro Forestry is playing in Brazil to tackle land inequality and environmental degradation. For those new to Agro Forestry (something our projects in Nepal have at their heart) it is also a great introduction into how it works.  

An organisation called the Landless Workers Movement (MST) have been reclaiming unused land and using it to empower local farmers. The farmers have been learning and adopting agro forestry and are now seeing the benefits. The article explains more, but we have pulled out a few quotes that certainly echo what farmers in Nepal tell us: 

Zaqueu Miguel one of the farmers at Mario Lago in south-east Brazil:

In a forest, when a tree falls, it opens a clearing and an infinity of life forms follow. But while in nature this only occurs every now and then, in agro forestry we make it happen more often... We have studies that show that this pulse in the clearings, this falling and growing, is much better in terms of climate, soil and water.
   Amar Rai practices agro forestry techniques at his farm in Deusa. The TGT funded  Agro Forestry Resource Centre  in Deusa, Solukhumbo is working in tandem with our NGO partners to spread agro forestry throughout the region. 

Amar Rai practices agro forestry techniques at his farm in Deusa. The TGT funded Agro Forestry Resource Centre in Deusa, Solukhumbo is working in tandem with our NGO partners to spread agro forestry throughout the region. 

Another farmer at Mario Lago, Nelson Correa: 

In agroforestry we work to regenerate the environment... productivity is a consequence of that regeneration.

Finally, farmer José Ferreira:

He who understands the processes of agroforestry doesn’t go back to conventional farming.

There are more great stories throughout the article. Find out what TGT is doing to enable agro forestry on our project pages

Annual return 2016 - 17

The Glacier Trust has submitted its annual return to the Charity Commission. You can view our annual reports on our finances page. 

Please find an extract from the Trustee's report below: 

The Glacier Trust Annual Report

The trustees present their report and accounts for the year ended 5 April 2017.

The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out in note 1 to the accounts and comply with the trust deed, the Charities Act 2011 and “Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice applicable to charities preparing their accounts in accordance with the Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland (FRS 102)” (as amended for accounting periods commencing from 1 January 2016)

Objectives and activities

The objectives of The Trust continue to reflect the tangible effects of climate change upon subsistence-based rural communities living in the Himalayas and their consequences of drought, flooding, landsliding, pest infestation and crop failure.

The trustees believe that education is the most powerful tool enabling communities to adapt to a wide and sometimes extreme range of variations from normal climatic patterns. While The Glacier Trust is willing to provide a small amount of finance towards infrastructures that will enhance their projects (for example materials to build irrigation channels and polytunnels), its main objectives lie in 'hands on' education to enable communities to find the best means of adaptation to suit the particular needs of the local topography and their communities and cultures. In particular the trustees see cash generating programmes, in a ‘for-profit’ type of development, as providing resilience to the effects of climate change. By focussing on better use of existing resources, the Trust's programmes are now beginning to lift subsistence-based communities with low levels of food security into relatively prosperous ones.

The Glacier Trust also seeks to enhance Nepali higher education in aspects of climate change, so that Nepalese university staff and postgraduate students are better placed to understand the problems and provide solutions. Here we have decided to focus on two streams of research: (1) developing the widely under-researched Himalayan permafrost and periglacial studies; and (2) producing research on climate change impacts on upland, rural Nepalese communities and the effect of adaptation interventions. This will inform the likely impacts of a warming climate in these upland regions and of the impacts The Glacier Trust’s type of projects can have. This research can therefore inform potential future projects of the Trust or of other NGOs working in these areas.

The trustees have paid due regard to guidance issued by the Charity Commission on public benefit in deciding what activities the trust should undertake.

The Glacier Trust ran three climate change adaptation projects and one higher education programme in 2016/17. Morgan Phillips made his first visit to Nepal in February 2017, visiting project work in Deurali, Nawalparasi and Deusa/Waku, Solukhumbo. In addition, our Nepal based Co-Director, Richard Allen made visits to both Solukhumbo and Nawalparasi to monitor and report on progress.

Earthquake recovery

The start of the 2016/17 reporting year coincided with the anniversary of the two devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal in the spring of 2015. Unsurprisingly, recovery and rebuilding has dominated life for many in Nepal since. Our NGO partners, EcoHimal Nepal and HICODEF as well as colleagues at HELVETAS and Practical Action with whom we maintain close relationships, have been heavily involved in these efforts. Understandably this has delayed some progress on longer term projects, but through careful management has not had a detrimental impact on our climate change adaptation work. TGT is not an emergency relief organisation, but the extreme toll the earthquakes took in Nepal and the Government’s limited ability to help all those effected meant we had a duty in 2015/16 to raise funds to support those impacted in our project areas.

During his February 2017 visit, Morgan toured sites where funds raised through the TGT Earthquake relief fund were channelled. Progress in Waku, Solukhumbo is impressive. As well as the reconstruction of houses and schools, young adults have received training in carpentry and other construction techniques. These skills have been put to immediate use, but are skills for life that will enhance the careers of those involved. TGT also funded the reconstruction of three houses and a community centre in the village of Kirtipur in Nawalparasi. Building work on two of three houses was near completion in February 2017, progress on the third has been delayed by a family emergency. The new community centre, part funded by TGT, is complete and in full use.

Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre

Through our Nepal based NGO delivery partner, Eco Himal Nepal, we continued our support for the Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC) in the village development committee district of Deusa, Solukhumbo.

Deusa Agroforestry Resource Center (DAFRC) has been recognized as an institutional platform for local community in adoption and application of improved agriculture, livestock and forestry practices. It is considered a local institution for supporting the livelihoods of rural farmers of Deusa Village Development Committee (VDC). DAFRC has been promoted as hub for the sharing seeds, seedlings and knowledge. Farmer to farmer dissemination of agroforestry technologies has spread learnings throughout the local communities of Deusa, Waku and surrounding VDCs as well as districts in eastern Nepal.

Sustainable Tree Cropping

In addition, in Deusa and neighbouring Waku, we supported an outreach programme of education and technical support to enable farmers to adopt new climate change resilient agriculture. This Sustainable Tree Cropping programme is delivered by a full time, TGT funded, EcoHimal project officer based in Deusa. Our project officer collaborates closely with the Deusa AFRC.

A total of 456 local households have been trained and oriented on various sustainable tree cropping techniques and practices. The practice has been promoted through 28 lead farmers (21 male and 7 female). As role models, they have been demonstrating the sustainable tree cropping technologies for other farmers. 42 local farmers have been trained on pest management and disease control. 13 agriculture groups (7 in Deusa and 6 in Waku) for production of cash crops have been formed. In some cases these are groups that have reformed after a post-earthquake hiatus. The members have been trained in landslide prevention, learning how and where to plant crops that bind soils and strengthen vulnerable slopes. Group members have been supplied with seedlings through the Sustainable Tree Cropping programme.

Working with experts from Kathmandu based, Swiss NGO, HELVETAS, EcoHimal Nepal facilitated a three-day coffee farming workshop for 28 local farmers in March 2017. Coffee production has accelerated in Deusa and began spreading to Waku as the 28 farmers share and spread knowledge.  We anticipate an increase in coffee production in 2017/18.

Improved cooking stoves

Also in partnership with EcoHimal Nepal, we began the pilot phase of a project that aims to install and embed the use of improved cooking stoves in the remote region of Sankhuwasabha. Progress here has been delayed due to the Earthquake recovery process, which exacerbated the challenges already associated with transporting heavy items to this very remote part of Nepal.

Despite these challenges, our partners EcoHimal Nepal successfully carried out the pre-pilot research phase of the project. They identified thirty suitable homes with whom to test the improved cooking stoves. EcoHimal have also completed an extensive research and development process to select the stoves that are most suitable for the particular environmental conditions of the project area.

An inclusive training manual has been developed and local households have been trained on various issues like forest conservation, climate change and potato cultivation. Training and education on the health impacts of indoor air pollution and the environmental impacts of slash and burn agriculture.  In total, 460 local households have been trained.

Enhancing Community Capacities for Learning and Adaptation to Climate Change (ECCLA)

In partnership with Nepal based NGO HICODEF, we supported three villages in the Deurali VDC of Nawalparasi in southern Nepal. Here the project work focussed on the initial construction phase of a new water supply system; slope stabilisation to improve landslide resilience and provide a source of fodder for livestock; and a series of farmer field school workshops and Climate Change awareness activities.

The irrigation system was designed in collaboration with HICODEF, local civil engineers and the local population in Durlunga Baseni. We broke ground on the construction work in February 2017, with an expected completion date of April 2017.

The second focus was slope stabilisation. 71 households from two of the project villages were involved in broom grass cultivation. Broom grass is a fast-growing crop and an excellent soil stabiliser. Additionally, its leaves can be harvested periodically to provide fodder for livestock. Using marginal and previously barren land in this way increases the agricultural productivity of the area, while also helping to prevent landslides that can disrupt everyday life and in worst cases, cost lives. Led by HICODEF’s TGT funded project officer, farmers collected over 20,000 broom grass seedlings and planted eight hectares of land.

Through a series of farmer field schools and climate change awareness workshops, we enabled farmers in Durlunga Baseni, Sartakun and Tandi to learn and implement new agricultural methods. 62 farmers (42 female, 20 male) attended the workshops. These farmers then organised into nine sub-groups across the three villages. An increase in commercial farming has been observed, with farmers putting their new knowledge and skills to use growing cash crops such as tomato, cauliflower, cabbage and pumpkin. The project is therefore lifting farmers out of subsistence agriculture, but in a climate change aware and ecologically sensitive way.

Higher Education and the Periglacial Environment

In October 2016, a team of three students and four teaching staff from Kathmandu and Tribahvan Universities visited the high mountains of Nepal. They were accompanied by TGT volunteers and experts in the Periglacial environment, Dr. Dhananjay Regmi and Prof. Jeff Kargel. Also accompanying the party was photographer Christopher Parsons who documented the field trip as part of his work with campaign group Project Pressure.

Setting off from Lukla, the team trekked through spectacular geography to the Nuptse Glacier, Imja Lake and Mount Chukkung Ri. The trek took a total of 18 days. Each evening our expert tutors lectured on periglacial and permafrost science, while also helping students with their MSc dissertation projects.

Project activity in 2017-18

During 2017-18 we are continuing our Climate Change Adaptation work in three locations. Projects which will be running throughout the 2017-18 financial year encompass:

  • Ensuring project work is better aligned and more coherent to our supporters by amalgamating our Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre and Sustainable Tree Cropping programmes into one. Focus here will be on extending the production of Coffee, Macademia, Hazelnuts and other high value and commercially viable crops for the area; the development of six satellite plant nurseries to improve access to AFRC seedling production services and demonstration plots; and upgrades to the AFRC building’s including installation of a solar water heater and improvements to accommodation facilities to enhance the centre’s potential as a location for training events and tourism. The Sustainable Trees Cropping programme will continue to enable adaptation to the growing impacts of Climate Change in Deusa and Waku. Organic and in some cases biodynamic agriculture is promoted and practiced throughout, with a high priority placed on sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
     
  • In the Siwalik foothills of the Nepalese Himalaya in the Newalparasi District, we will continue working with local NGO partners HICODEF in three villages. We will complete work on phase one of the water storage and irrigation system in Durlunga Baseni. This project will bring drinking water and enable farmers to irrigate land that has historically been left fallow during the winter dry season. The irrigation system will enable farmers to grow crops all year round, significantly improving their productivity and supporting them to lift themselves out of subsistence agriculture. In addition, we will work with land owners and civil engineers to design a further extension to the irrigation system enabling even more land to be cultivated all year round. To adapt to these changes in the supply of water we will run Farmer Field School education programmes to teach about climate sensitive farming techniques and also provide the materials needed to implement these techniques. Farmers in each project location will be supported by three undergraduate students from local agricultural colleges. These Junior Technical Assistants will also benefit, by gaining valuable practical experience of climate change resilient farming.
     
  • We will continue our improved cooking stove (ICSs) project near the Nepali/Tibetan border in the Sankuwasabha district. Thirty stoves will be installed and monitored to ensure they are performing well in the environment and being successfully adopted by the selected households. The ICSs selected in 2016-17 dramatically reduce respiratory diseases as they replace traditional open hearths. The ICSs have chimneys ensuring that most of the smoke generated escapes the building.  These stoves also reduce the pressure on forests for firewood as they use almost 50% less wood, dramatically improving environmental conservation.

In addition to our Climate Change Adaptation work, we will continue to develop our work in the education sector.

  • The introduction of nine Junior Technical Assistants to our project work in Nawalparasi will develop the climate change awareness and adaptation skills of the next generation of agriculture professionals in Nepal. We will also begin development of a school and university exchange programme to support the spread of climate change adaptation awareness amongst Nepali and overseas students.

Acknowledgements

During the year, our two Co-Directors Jamie and Morgan, who have both run the day to day workings of the Trust from the UK, have had invaluable support from Richard Allen, our Nepal-based Co-Director, and the four trustees without whom we could not run this organisation. We would also like to thank our patrons, Chris Bonington and Professor Doug Benn.

Mainstreaming adaptation?

We are doing a piece of research at the moment looking into how (and how much) the UK's leading Environmental organisations are talking about Climate Change Adaptation. 

Before we started, our hunch was that there would not be a whole lot to look at. We've now analysed over 700 articles and the results are not hugely surprising. The full report is still a little way off, but it is not all bad news and we wanted to share some good news with you now. 

Friends of the Earth have an excellent position on adaptation

Under their 'who we are' section, Friends of the Earth (FoE) set out their 'policy positions' on a number of key issues. Scroll down a bit and you'll find their position on Climate Change Adaptation. It's great. Here are some of the key statements they have made:

We need to minimise how climate change affects people and nature. We also have a responsibility to help the most vulnerable to cope.

Here is one of their 'facts about climate change adaptation'. It is stark reminder of the size of the political and economic challenges we all face:

Developing countries don’t have the resources they need to adapt. Far too little is being done, so at least 1,000 times more money must be invested.

(AT LEAST) ONE THOUSAND TIMES MORE. Wow.

The Glacier Trust would be an entirely different organisation if we had 1,000 times more resources available to enable climate change adaptation in Nepal. Maybe, we'll find out what that feels like one day. That day can only be closer if Environmental NGOs start applying pressure on the policymakers and purse string holders. Will FoE lead the charge? 

Ways to adapt

Continuing this theme, under 'ways to adapt', they make a number of suggestions, including: 

Give tens of billions of pounds more to help climate adaptation overseas. The UK, with other wealthy countries, has been most responsible for causing climate change. Developing countries have contributed very little to the problem. We must take responsibility.

As a supporter of The Glacier Trust, you are way ahead of the curve here. Every time you donate to us, offer your support as volunteer, or share news of what we are doing you are taking that responsibility. Thank you.

At COP 21 in Paris, adaptation was given the same level of priority as mitigation for the first time. Signatories also agreed to increase their collective level of funding for adaptation and mitigation to USD 100 billion/year by 2020. As a movement, we need to ensure that 50% of that funding is directed towards adaptation to help those who most need it. This is why it is so encouraging to see FoE making such a strong call. 

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Another 'way to adapt' listed by FoE highlights the vital role that women play in creating and sustaining adaptations: 

Involve more women in climate change adaptation plans. Women have particular experience and understanding of adaptation needs, yet research shows their voices are often unheard.

We recently heard news from Deusa AFRC about their new board and advisory committee. Gender equality has not yet been fully reached, but it is a priority policy area for the centre. They have strict equality rules that govern who is selected for the board and committee. Women are playing an increasingly prominent and important role in Deusa, they are definitely not 'unheard' and it is benefiting the whole community as they continue to find new ways to adapt to Climate Change. 

The FoE statement ends (like all good webpages) with a call to action. Confusingly it reads 'Protect our climate, ban fracking'. It is not that that is not a good idea, or a worthy campaign, but it doesn't quite tally with their list of 'ways to adapt' which call for investment in adaptation. How long until FoE have a headline campaign on Climate Change Adaptation? 

Kevin Anderson on a train

If you are looking for an honest account of the UNFCCC process, Prof. Kevin Anderson is a great person to turn to. (Follow him on Twitter here: @KevinClimate

This part diary entry, part stream of conscience blog entry from Nov 2017, written on a train somewhere between Germany and Sweden, is particularly enlightening. He reflects on NETs (Negative Emissions Technologies), the ‘us and them’ of a COP and searches for some hope amongst the chaos! It’s a good read, it might leave you wanting to redesign the UNFCCC COP circus completely. 

Prof. Anderson is in the U.K. next week for a talk at UCL. It is sold out, but we are hoping to sneak in and report back.

Beware solar triumphalism

2017 saw a growing trend for #ClimateOptimism a kind of narrative where influential people and groups tell us that everything is going to be OK. The inference being: don’t worry you can carry on living life as normal, give or take a few minor changes. It is well intentioned, the thinking being that people respond better to hope than despair. But what if it is false hope that we are being sold? This is a theme we will be exploring a little more in 2018. 

Tyler Cowan writing in Bloomberg View on January 2nd:

‘There is now a doctrine of what I call “solar triumphalism”: the price of panels has been falling exponentially, the technology makes good practical sense, and only a few further nudges are needed for solar to become a major energy source. Unfortunately, this view seems to be wrong.’

Articles like Tyler's are a sobering reminder of just how elusive a low carbon future still is.

The hope we need to give is to those who are most badly effected by Climate Change and those who stand to be effected in the very near future. TGT can give that hope and we can deliver on it. TGT projects are proof of that and we want to do a whole lot more in 2018. 
 

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The Glacier Trust partners with The Great Nepalese Restaurant

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No country is defined by its food, but food is central to the identity of every country and Nepal is no different. Food security sits at the heart of what we do in Nepal, we are enabling subsistence farmers to adapt to Climate Change through innovations in agriculture. As a result, in Nawalparasi and Solukhumbo, we have whole villages growing new crops and improving the way they produce staples like rice, maize, eggs and tomato.

With such a strong connection to food in Nepal, we wanted to make that connection in the UK too. The Great Nepalese is a perfect link for us and we are very excited to be launching our partnership this week.

The Great Nepalese serves traditional Nepali food, as well as familiar curry dishes from right across the Indian subcontinent. It was opened by Mr and Mrs Bopal and Ranu Manandhar, who arrived in London in 1982. Their three sons Birendra (Baz), Kiran and Jitendra, took over a few years ago and led an impressive refurbishment. They have created a wonderful family run and very Nepalese atmosphere; it is a real taste of Kathmandu right in the heart of London.

As well as making monthly donation of their own, The Great Nepalese have installed a TGT collection box to encourage diners to make a small gift when they visit. We are also working with them to set up a variety of menu options, special events and deals to help raise awareness and funds for our work.

If you are London based, or visiting, please find time to dine at The Great Nepalese, they are open Monday – Saturday for lunch and dinner. Booking is recommended and do visit their website for more information on holding meetings or events.

 From left to right: Kiran, Baz and Jitendra Manandhar with TGT Co-Director Morgan Phillips at The Great Nepalese Restaurant. 

From left to right: Kiran, Baz and Jitendra Manandhar with TGT Co-Director Morgan Phillips at The Great Nepalese Restaurant. 

Bookings
To reserve a table or to book an event, please email or call 020 7388 6737. 

Location
48 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1DA - 30 seconds walk from Euston Station. 

Hours
Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12:00-14:30 :: Dinner 18:00-23:30
Closed on Sundays.

www.great-nepalese.com

Please mention The Glacier Trust.

How to produce coffee in Nepal

Coffee production in Deusa, Solukhumbo

With funding and support from TGT and Eco Himal Nepal, the Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC), is enabling farmers in Deusa and Waku, Solukhumbo, to produce and sell coffee. Coffee is a good crop to grow at these altitudes and once established will provide a regular extra source of income for hundreds of farmers.

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But, coffee is not immune to the impacts of rising global temperatures and needs to be farmed in a Climate Change aware way. The main threats are invasive insect pests, drought, intense rainfall events and increased average temperatures. Adaptation is possible, and it can be done using organic pesticides and fertilisers, clever intercropping (for example, planting coffee alongside plants that hold water in soil and provide coffee with the shade from intense sunlight) and by planting new crops at slightly higher, rather than lower, altitudes.

We are working closely with Eco Himal and the Deusa AFRC to enable farmers to maximise their income and farm in a sustainable way. These are very early days and it is a long term project. We are opening conversations with stakeholders at all levels of the coffee chain (from bean to cup), who are helping us immensely already. On our recent visit to Deusa, we did some fact-finding to share with those advising us. We are publishing what we found out here too, to provide some information for those interested in how coffee is produced and traded in Nepal. Coffee could become a very important part of the mix for farmers in mountain regions and help them go beyond the perils of subsistence farming. 

How many farmers have mature coffee trees currently? 
300 in main project area, more in neighbouring districts.

On average how many productive coffee trees does each farmer currently have?
10-20

What bean are they growing? What coffee tree varieties have been planted?
Arabica - we are still trying to find out the varietal. It is fully organic.

How many new coffee trees are being grown?
8,000 mature trees currently in main project area, around 5,000 are fruiting, the other 3,000 are one year old. 

 Cultivating coffee saplings in Deusa.

Cultivating coffee saplings in Deusa.

How many new coffee trees have been planted that are not yet productive?
20,000 saplings were distributed in 2016, around 50% will survive. 
Planning to distribute a further 15,000 saplings in 2018. 

How many KGs of coffee cherry have been harvested in the last crop harvest?
2,000 KGs harvested in 2017. Around 20% of cherry's were lost. 

Who bought the coffee, for how much and what did they do with it? 
It was bought by a trader in Kathmandu, he mixed them with other beans and sold them onto other traders. He bought the beans for 500 Nepali Rupee / KG and sold on for around 700 rupee /KG. 
It took the trader a long time (several months) to pay for the coffee, which created a very long time lag for the farmers before they received their share of the proceeds. 

How many KGs of coffee cherry are expected from the next harvest?
Expecting 2,500KG in next harvest.

What is the current process for picking, pulping, milling, transporting, selling, roasting etc?
- Cherries are handpicked by farmers
- They carry cherries for around 30 mins in a bamboo basket to a collection point (there are approx. 8 collection points in the main project area). 
- Collection points serve between 5 and 30 farmers
- Pulped by hand turned machine (see photo of machine attached)
- (we have funded 6 pulping machines, these are moved around the project area to collection points as and when needed)
- After pulping beans are left in a sack overnight
- Beans are hand washed next morning to remove husks and then left to dry on trays in the open air
- Moisture content is checked, but only by sound, they do not have moisture meter's yet.
- Once beans are dry, farmers carry them in Bamboo baskets to the Agro Forestry Resource Centre - depending on where the farmer lives in relation to the AFRC, this can take anything between 1 hour and 1 day. 
- AFRC weigh sacks and tag them so they can keep a record of which beans belong to which farmer.
- Before weighing AFRC carry out a basic quality check, they want unbroken beans that have no dust, no mould, no moss and no animal hair. 
- AFRC stores coffee in sacks on top floor of building
- Eco Himal (our partner NGO) transport coffee beans to Kathmandu and store them in their office. 
- It cost 57 rupees / KG to transport to Kathmandu
- There is a 'district development tax' of 5 rupee / KG that has to paid on all produce that leaves Solukhumbo. 
- There are a few small-scale roasters in Kathmandu, but most coffee is exported as parchment for roasting in Australia, New Zealand etc. 

 Coffee pulping machine at Deusa AFRC

Coffee pulping machine at Deusa AFRC

How many pulping machines are there? What do they look like?
Currently six. We are hoping to fund a few more as production expands.

What sort of intercropping is happening?
Mostly banana and bamboo trees to provide shade, but also other native trees. Paulownia, Moringa, Ginger, Tumeric, Orange trees are all being tested. Plants that retain water in the soil, fix nitrogen and provide shade are favoured. If they are plants that can be farmed commercially and sustainably too all the better. 

At what altitude is the coffee being grown? 
1,000 - 1,500m 

What is the potential to upscale production, how much land is potentially available for coffee production?
In the main project area (Deusa) enough trees have been planted to treble, possibly quadruple production in the next 2-3 years. In neighbouring district (Waku) which is also part of our project area, coffee production is just starting and it has the potential to be just as productive. There are other neighbouring districts with similar capacity. So could expand production by a factor of 10 or 15 in the coming years. We are taking great care to ensure coffee is one of many plants farmed here. Biodiversity is supremely important to climate change adaptation. 

 

TGT partners with The Great Nepalese Restaurant

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We are delighted to announce a brand new fundraising partnership with central London's only authentic Nepalese Restaurant. 

On Tuesday 12th December 2017, we will be officially launching a new partnership with The Great Nepalese Restaurant on Eversholt Road, near Euston station in London. We approached The Great Nepalese in October to ask if they would be interested in supporting us to raise awareness and funds for our work. They told us about their history, values and links to Nepal and after hearing a little more about our work in Nepal agreed that it was an excellent fit.

The Great Nepalese restaurant was opened by Mr Bopal Manandhar and Mrs Ranu Manandhar in 1982 and has been a landmark on Eversholt Street ever since. Now run by their three sons, Birendra (Baz), Kiran and Jitendra, The Great Nepalese is a local’s favourite and a popular stop off for businessmen, tourists and politicians as they pass through nearby Euston station. Talking about our new partnership Baz said:

The Glacier Trust is doing great work helping Nepal to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change and we were delighted when they approached us about a partnership. We hope that this partnership will raise awareness of the charity and vital funds for its work. We also hope it will strengthen the connection between life in Nepal today and the authentic Nepalese food we serve. 

The Great Nepalese will be making a regular monthly gift to The Glacier Trust and have installed a collection box enabling customers to make donations during their visit. The Great Nepalese will also host Glacier Trust events making use of their new audio and visual equipment and unique meeting spaces – that are available for hire. 

If you would like to join us at the launch event on Tuesday December 12th, 2pm; please RSVP to Morgan on: morgan.phillips@theglaciertrust.org

Forthcoming monitoring visit to Nepal

Our UK Co-Director Dr. Morgan Phillips talks us through his forthcoming visit to Nepal. 

On Tuesday (November 7th) I am setting off on my second visit to Nepal. I will be there for just over two weeks and have a lot to fit in. I will be monitoring projects, looking at potential new locations for work, meeting up with TGT supporters on the trail to Everest, planning our brand new schools partnership work, meeting sector colleagues and collecting evidence and data to measure the difference we, YOU, are making. Here is a brief outline on what I am hoping to achieve:

Nawalparasi

Overlooking the terraces in the village of Dhahaba and the extensive Terai plain that stretches deep south into India (February 2017) 

Less than 18 hours after touching down in Kathmandu, I will be back at the airport for an early morning flight to Bhartapur, a small city on the very northern edge of the extensive Terai plain. This is the gateway to Nawalparasi, the foothills of the Himalaya and, more importantly for us, the stop off point for the hilly district of Deurali.  

Working with our NGO partners HICODEF and Practical Action, we have been enabling climate change adapatation in Deurali for over four years now. I will be accompanied on this field visit by Dinanath Bhandari, a TGT volunteer and climate change adaptation specialist from Practical Action. We will also, for the first time, bring Narayan Dhakal to Deurali. Narayan is Executive Director at Eco Himal who are our partner NGO for the projects we support in the eastern Nepali regions of Solukhumbo and Sankhuwasaba. Narayan's visit is part of our effort to bring Climate Change adaptation professional's together in meaningful ways - facilitating shared learning and knowledge transfer across Nepal. 

Nawalparasi was significantly impacted by the extensive flooding suffered by Nepal, India and Bangladesh this summer. As a consequence road links have been disrupted and we will be needing to hike several (hilly) miles to reach the three villages we are working with currently. I am particularly excited about heading back to Dhahaba, a community that is pretty much cut off by a huge river in the summer months, we are back working there this year after a two year gap and I hope to see much progress being made. In Durlunga I will get to see the completed and operational irrigation system that was under construction when I visited first back in February. I'll be needing a glass or two of that water too I think, the road is currently not open to vehicles and we have a four hour uphill trek to reach Durlunga! We have had some great news there recently too, the local government has agreed to match-fund an extension to this irrigation scheme. We will therefore be taking a closer look at the land and families that will benefit from the new water supply - and doing what we can to ensure the local government comes good on their promise.  

Our last stop in Nawalparasi will take us outside of Deurali to the village of Kirtipur. Here I will be meeting the families who received support from us after the 2015 earthquakes. I am keen to update the many TGT supporters who so generously donated crisis relief funds. I will be reporting on the homes and lives that money helped to rebuild.

Kathmandu

Sandwiched between my two field trips I have three days in Kathmandu. During this time I will be meeting with colleagues from Practical Action Nepal, Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) and Eco-Himal. I also hope to meet with representatives from UN Environment and will catch up with long time TGT collaborator DJ Regmi. 

Solukhumbo

Seedlings grow at Deusa AFRC demonstration nursery. (February 2017)

My trip wraps up with a field visit to Solukhumbo and our project work in Deusa and Waku. The visit will be led by Narayan Dhakal from Eco Himal and we will be joined by our Nepal Co-Director, Richard Allen and Mary Peart, former headteacher at GSIS school Hong Kong.

We will also host four TGT supporters from the Alpine Club. Led by Tony Westcott, a team of four will warm up for their trek along the path to Everest base camp, by hiking to and around Deusa and Waku with us. Tony, a long time TGT supporter and friend of our founder Robin Garton, has long wanted to visit Deusa to see first hand the projects we are enabling there. We are very much looking forward to showing him and his party around the Deusa AFRC and all the other fantastic work there. 

Dilisher Rai with his coffee plant in Deusa, Solukhumbo. (February, 2017)

One of my focus points in Deusa will be coffee. Several farmers here have been growing coffee under the guidance of our Eco Himal colleagues. They hope to develop this further and begin to generate significant income for the community over time. I recently met with the founder of Fairtrade coffee experts Falcon coffees and was offered some fantastic advice on how coffee production in Deusa might be scaled up. So I have a fact-finding mission and a checklist of questions to work through. 

Mary Peart is joining us to spend time planning our new partnership programme. Mary is the recently retired Head teacher from a Hong Kong international school, GSIS. In 2018, we will organise a field trip to Deusa for students and teachers from GSIS school. GSIS will, in return, commit to raising funds for our project work in Deusa and Waku. Mary and I will be meeting with the local Secondary School to discuss how the partnership will operate and how students from both host and visiting schools will benefit. 

Finally, either on the way, or way back, from Solukhumbo, we will visit the village of Kavre, a few hours west of Kathmandu. It is a scoping visit for TGT and a chance to assess Kavre's suitability as a location for an environmental education programme we are currently developing. 

Please keep an eye on our Social Media streams - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - as well as this blog, where I aim to update on my trip as I go. I will report in more depth via our newsletter when I return. 

We thank you again for your support, you make all this amazing work possible. Please continue to enable climate change adaptation in Nepal by making a donation or by visiting our shop. 

Siân Brooke joins The Glacier Trust

We're very excited to announce that star of stage and screen, Siân Brooke, has joined The Glacier Trust as our new ambassador! 

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Sian Brooke has had an incredible 12 months. She is one of the UK's most talented actors. In the space of just one year, she had starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch TWICE, first as Ophelia in the critically acclaimed Hamlet at the Barbican theatre and then as Eurus Holmes, Sherlock's long lost and slightly terrifying sister. More recently she has starred in another BBC drama, Doctor Foster and you may have caught her in the wonderful mini-series The Moorside alongside Sheridan Smith back in February. Sian has barely been off our screens, we are incredibly fortunate that she has made time to support our work and help raise our profile.  

We spoke to Sian, asking her thoughts on Climate Change and the work of The Glacier Trust: 

Climate Change is so often talked about as something that will have an impact 'in the future', but it is already affecting people's lives and we need to help them today. The Glacier Trust is doing this in Nepal, enabling some of the most remote Himalayan communities to adapt to the changing conditions; it is great to be involved. 
We need to do more to raise awareness and support for those already suffering from Climate Change.

We will keep you updated on Sian's work and involvement with the charity in the coming months. She sent us a few snaps of our exclusive T-Shirts. You can buy one of your own through our online store

Welcome Sian, it is fantastic to have you on board!

On giving

The truly inspired School of Life popped up in our inbox this afternoon with some wisdom on 'Gifts for Life, not just for Christmas'. Now that we have our own little online shop, we thought that it was worth sharing a couple of paragraphs: 

The arrival of winter has a habit of making us feel particularly closed off from the world. The blustery cold and drawn-out nights fill us with the instinct to retreat, to seek shelter and warmth, as well as distraction from the goings-on of a busy social calendar.

And yet, since this is such an important time of year for exchanging gifts, we also must think carefully about the needs and unspoken desires of those around us. When buying gifts for others, there can be a strong temptation to seek out things which appeal to our sense of glamour or luxury, even though – on some level – we know the recipient might prefer a present which carries more emotional and psychological significance.

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The School of Life has its own fantastic range of gifts, well worth exploring. We have a range of T-Shirts that we hope might find their way into the stockings of your nearest and dearest. We're also partnered with the Alpine Club who are donating £1 from the sale of every pack of their stunning Christmas Cards to our work. 

What is Agro Forestry and how does in help Nepal?

The Agro Forestry Resource Centre in Deusa, fifty miles south of Mount Everest, is one of our proudest achievements. We interviewed Til Bahadur Rai and Keshab Rai to find out how they felt about what has been achieved there so far. They explain what Agro forestry is, why the centre is needed in Deusa and tell us how the community has benefited over the last three years. It is a great insight into the difference our work is making in Nepal, enabling some of the most vulnerable communities to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change. These fantastic outcomes are only possible with your support.