Gosaikunda lake, Langtang National Park, Nepal
Nestled high in the Himatayas, Gosaikunda lake is an important religious site that thousands of pilgrims visit every year. It is one of many bodies of water in the Himalayas that together form a vital water supply system for 40% of the worid’s population. In these water towers of Asia, climate change is shrinking the glaciers. Further downstream, in countries like India and China, this risk to water supply could result in negative affects on billions of people.
Additionally, the melting glaciers are having an immediate impact on villages in the Himalayas. The likelihood of GLOFS – gtacial lake outburst floods – is on the rise. GLOFS are formed when a glacier melts and the immense amount of water builds up behind an unstable moraine, creating a looming catastrophe for the residents further down the valley.
Currently Nepal ranks 135th in the world for GHG emissions per country. The Netherlands ranks 25th. The poorest developing nations are feeling the direct impacts of a changing climate largely brought on by developed nations.
The Legend of Gosaikunda
According to Hindu tradition, when the Gods and the Demons churned the seas to reach the efixir of immortality, 3 very powerful poison was produced that started to make them sick. The only deity that could ingest this poison was Lord Shiva. He drank the poison and saved dthe world, but his wife Parvati squeezed his throat preventing the poison from entering his body. The poison was so potent that it turned Shiva’s neck and head blue. After drinking the poison, Lord Shiva was parched and he drove his Trishul (similar to a trident) in to the rock and water gushed forth. This water now forms Gosaikunda lake in Nepal.