Friday, April 29, 2016

The Shifting Fortunes Of Life In Mongolia

Old Traditions

Herding Cultures: Mongolian herder culture is becoming rarer, in large part due to changing weather patterns, marked by increasing dzuds (a summer of drought followed by a winter of cold and snow)which have killed many animals. It is safe to say that in such places the dictates of weather play an important part in the (mis)fortunes of life. Thus, it is also safe to say that life on the steppes, or grasslands, can be rewarding, but it can also be harsh, compelling many to abandon this way of life. Nathan VanderKlippe writes (“Dying Steppe;” April 29, 2016) for the Globe & Mail: “Driven in part by the emotional toll of losing animals under their care, herders themselves are abandoning the steppe. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of Mongolian herders fell from a half-million to 300,000.” The caption for this photo says and explains much: “Gantumur, a 51-year-old Mongolian herder, rides past a dead cow near Adaatsag, Mongolia April 16, 2016. Gantumur has already lost 60 of his 100 goats and sheep, after a fierce winter that has taken a grim toll on the Mongolian steppe.
Photo Credit: John Lehmann, Globe & Mail
Source: Globe & Mail