Well over 1.3 billion people will be affected by climate change in the Hindu-Kush region – the Himalayas are the source of ten of the world’s largest rivers including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yellow, Mekong and Indus. ‘1.3 billion’ refers to the people who depend directly on these waters for drinking, agriculture, hydropower and livelihoods. ‘Well over…’ refers to those of us around the world who buy it as ‘virtual water’ when we buy a T-shirt made from cotton grown in China, or rice from India.
That’s what I learned today in chats with scientists at ICIMOD in a pleasant valley on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
It wasn’t all gloomy tales of melting glaciers and drying rivers though. We had an amazing traditional Nepali dinner: six courses, which was just as well because we hadn’t eaten all day, being too late leaving for ICIMOD and reluctant to ask for food from the workers there. And I can get a little fractious on inadequate troffing…
But it was worth waiting for. Nick and I were wrapped in long aprons and napkins (had they seen me eating the previous night?) and sat cross-legged at a low table. We had rice wine (poor Nick’s seemed to keep evaporating so he had to have several refills) and then all kinds of curries, rice, dahl and other yummy things that I can’t even name.
Now I’m off to bed with a ballooning stomach.