Mountains are the water towers of the world. They provide freshwater to half the world’s population for irrigation, industry, domestic use, and hydropower. But mountains are also the most sensitive to climate change. Mountain communities have to be to first to do the work of adapting to and mitigating the impact of, the challenges directly connected to climate change.
I came across the Ice Stupas–mini artificial glaciers–a brilliant local grassroot innovation that solved a water problem for the communities living in the Phyang Valley in Ladakh, a region in the northwest India.
While the region has always suffered from water shortage, the situation became even more dire with the glacier retreat in recent decades, especially in the springtime when every drop of water counts. The ingenuity of Sonam Wangchuk, a Ladakhi engineer, innovator, and education reformist, brought about a wind of hope. His innovative Ice Stupas can store winter meltwater, then slowly release it for the growing season in early spring when water is most needed.
Ciril Jazbec is a documentary photographer born in Slovenia in 1987. Before moving to London he studied Management in Ljubljana. He obtained his master's degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication.
He has been working as a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine since 2014. His work is focused on communities that are confronted by the effects of globalisation and climate change. Ciril won the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award in 2013, he was the winner at Photo Folio Review Les Rencontres d’Arles 2013, and he was also a winner at Magnum’s 30 under 30 in 2015. Ciril was among PDN’s 30 New and Emerging photographers to watch in 2016 and he received Pictures of the Year International honors in 2018. His work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, GEO, Der Spiegel, Neu Zürcher Zeitung, Marie Claire Italia, Leica Fotografie International, WIRED UK, British Journal of Photography and other publications.