CHANGTHANG, India – The famed pashmina shawl that keeps the cold away – in style and at a price – could itself have become the victim of winter. Thousands of goats whose fine wool is woven into pashmina have perished in extreme cold being associated with climate change.
As we all know, climate change used to be called global warming, but extreme cold being associated with global warming would no doubt sound a little – well a little batty.
“In the past five years this is the second time I have seen such heavy snowfall,” Bihkit Angmo, 53, who rears goats, told IPS outside her tent in Kharnak, a nomadic settlement 173 kilometers east of Leh, capital of Ladakh. “This new trend of snowfall several feet high has left us quite worried.”
No doubt Ms Angmo has no access to climate models or the BBC, so she is bound to be worried by the special kind of global warming which currently threatens not only her livelihood, but that of 300,000 other people.
If things continue this way, Sharief said, Pashmina-goat rearing would come to an end in the next two decades. That would also mean the end of livelihood for about 300,000 people in the Jammu and Kashmir state of India who depend on pashmina directly or indirectly, according to Shariq Farooqi, director of the Craft Development Institute in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.