In the last decades the communities in the Himalayan mountains of the Ladakh region in India have started to become climate refugees forced to abandon their valleys due to water issues. The Himalayan glaciers have been receding and water scarcity has never been so dire.
A few years ago, the ingenuity of Sonam Wangchuk, a Ladakhi engineer and innovator, brought about a beacon of hope. In 2015, he prototyped ice stupas, artificial glaciers resembling Tibetan religious stupas that store winter meltwater and slowly release it for the growing season in spring, when water is most needed.
I have been following Wangchuk and his team’s efforts almost from the start. As a documentary photographer, I soon understood the importance of the visual representation of this story. In 2018 and 2019 I visited the region to document the incredible scale and impact of the Ice Stupa movement.