Back to Forsmark

Tonight I am going back to Forsmark to continue the carnivore census there for a few days. We found a family group of lynx the last time around and a lot of other animals.

The purposes of the census is seeing how the new end-storage facility for radioactive material will affect wildlife in the area and also to see how a potential leak would spread in the ecosystem.

Carnivore census

I have been out censusing carnivores for a few days in the area around Forsmark. I followed the tracks of a family group of lynx, a mother with two kittens for a couple of days. I also tracked marten and mink. There is a lot of roe deer in the area and I also came across tracks from wild boar.

The picture shows a track from a lynx north of Forsmark.

Altitude sickness

Struck by altitude sickness up in Ladakh, I came back home to Sweden yesterday. I am looking to go back there later on in the spring again.

I figured that I would feel like an alien in India but somehow it felt like home.

This is where I have been.

Saving Ladakh’s culture

Two days ago in Leh I met a senior Japanese culture teacher and photographer. He told me of a Swedish woman called Helena Norberg. He said that she came to Ladakh in the 1970s and managed to save much of Ladakh’s culture from the then newly introduced consumerism, something that he considers has destroyed most of the world’s cultures.

The more I read up on Helena Norberg the more I am in awe. She has studied cultures all over the world and has seen the effects of consumerism.

I would like to share a number of citations from her but I will contend with only one:

“When I first arrived in Leh, the capital of 5,000 inhabitants, cows were the most likely cause of congestion and the air was crystal clear. Within five minutes’ walk in any direction from the town centre were barley fields, dotted with large farmhouses. For the next twenty years I watched Leh turn into an urban sprawl. The streets became choked with traffic, and the air tasted of diesel fumes. ‘Housing colonies’ of soulless, cement boxes spread into the dusty desert. The once pristine streams became polluted, the water undrinkable. For the first time, there were homeless people. The increased economic pressures led to unemployment and competition. Within a few years, friction between different communities appeared. All of these things had not existed for the previous 500 years.”

So not only does consumerism destroy ecosystems, the climate and our potential to live on this planet, it also ravages our past and consumes ancient cultures.

Helena Norberg has founded the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) and the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh. What an amazing story.