by Deanna Maria R. & Emmy Hikins

For herders in Sikkim, India, their lives are tied to those animals they depend on for food, the yak. Yaks are an inherent part of their culture for Sikkim herders. When 500 yaks were trapped in a grazing area due to heavy snows, the herders shed tears for the suffering the animals endured. Ultimately, the animals died of starvation because the path to get to them was blocked by snow. Herders blame global warming for the deaths, saying sudden climate change brought abnormally high amounts of snow in 2018. One Sikkim herder was heard to state that ‘for them to survive the yak must’ or for future generations, the way of life would drastically change.

With only 76,000 yaks left in India, herders desperately need help taking care of the ones left. A herder’s life is not an easy one, but it is part of culture and tradition. If all the yak disappear the Sikkim herder’s way of life will too. Some urge people to start speaking out on climate change for the sake of the Yak and Sikkim culture. One-man states that it took a 16-year old girl, Greta Thunberg, to speak out at the recent UN meeting, bringing awareness of global warming and sudden climate change to the forefront, and if she could do it then they could do their bit also.