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Published on Monday, November 24, 2008

Spiti Valley Shangri-La of Tourism?

See Spiti Climate Change Video:
Set in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas, a committed little ecotourism project has set itself high goals.

Ecosphere Spiti is a collaborative effort of the local community of Spiti and professionals from diverse backgrounds with a wide spectrum of skills and experience. They create and market really low impact tourism (b&b, homestays, treks, etc)

The collaboration of Muse, Spiti Seabuckthorn Society and Spiti Trans-Himalayan Action Group, are using the provision of tourism to

-¢ Generate livelihoods from local surpluses such as Seabuckthorn & Eco-Tourism and link them to nature and culture conservation.
-¢ The Promotion of greenhouses as a means of providing fresh vegetables to the local populace through out the year, besides providing an additional income source.
-¢ Provide energy efficient housing solutions through the development of Solar Passive Houses which in turn contribute to mitigating global warming
-¢ Revival and promotion of local Handicrafts aiding their conservation as well as assisting the local women with an additional income source.
-¢ Restoration of the Dhankhar Monastery structure, frescos and thankas.

-¬---Mountain ecosystems and economies share an intricate balance of space for opportunities.-¬~ Say Ecosphere, -¬---Whereas livelihood is a critical area of concern for the development needs of the regions in question, ensuring the balance with the environment is equally critical to their sustainability.-¬~

-¬---Spiti has been the nurturing ground for various initiatives of Muse, Spiti Seabuckthorn Society and Spiti Trans-Himalayan Action Group who have been working in the Spiti valley for over 10 years on a wide array of development and conservation issues. These organisations have come together under a common platform, Ecosphere, to ensure that each ones strengths can be directed towards the realisation of the common goal of sustainable development for the entire region. Some of the projects that these organisations have been involved in are focussed on:

All the Ecosphere projects aim at establishing the triple bottom line linkage of livelihoods, conservation and development.

Their aim is to re-establish the critical link between the custodians of Spiti's natural and cultural resources and consumers, through their product line ranging between travel, organics and health creating aim sustainable livelihoods that are linked to conservation.

They say: -¬---Our passion for conservation, mountain travel and adventure has brought us all together for this venture. Some of us have college and university educations that strongly support our claims. Other members of the team have (adrenaline) educations that no educational institution can provide.-¬~

-¬---We have wandered the Himalayas (and will continue to do so) and most travelers we have come across have been awed by its grandeur, very few have been disappointed. Sometimes the conventional rules simply aren't good enough. Sometimes new rules have to be invented, rules that would require us to look at situations anew, with new eyes. Attitudes have to be torn down and rebuilt. Some things are worth fighting for irrespective of the odds.-¬~

-¬---We all have our own mountains to climb but the ones we climb for others are the most worthy and the most fulfilling. A fight may look harmless when viewed from the outside, but on the inside it's pure lightning. Our personal spectrums are totally congruent to our characters. How to choose to build and use them is our call.-¬~

Valere Tjolle

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