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How Do Nepalis Experience Climate Change?

Pasang Yangjee Sherpa

University of Washington

 

Abstract

Climate change is not contained within a geographic territory. Its effects do not discriminate. The perception, vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience to climate change effects, however, vary from one place to another. These variations inform us about the human dimensions of climate change. In this paper, I compare and contrast findings of climate change studies from the Everest region, and northern Humla in Nepal to gain a better understanding of climate change effects in different places. I discuss climate change effects in Nepal in three steps. Firstly, I discuss physical changes in the environment that Nepalis are exposed to, and deal with everyday. Secondly, I discuss institutional knowledge and capacity in Nepal to deal with climate change. Thirdly, I discuss social heterogeneity in Nepal. For the purpose of national level comparison, I identify people from the Everest region and Humla as Nepali nationals. Local level analysis considers social heterogeneity that distinguishes these places, including ethnic backgrounds and caste hierarchy. Nepali climate change policies are explored to contextualize institutional responses to climate change effects. My earlier research in the Everest region among the Sherpas, examining climate change perceptions and institutional activities, my recent field visits to western Nepal, and my current project, surveying academic and institutional climate change literature on Nepal to recognize research, action, and gap, contribute to this paper.