Climate changes in Mongolia are not only threatening the country’s environment, they are also threatening a way of life for Mongolian nomads. Over the decades, seasonal winds have resulted in the desertification of 41% of the country as the nation’s grasslands gradually turn into dust and sand. Poor land management and unsuitable farming practices have also contributed to the problem and as a result, nomadic herdsmen have fewer available grazing plots for their livestock, causing a population migration from rural areas into the cities as families are forced to abandon their nomadic ways of life.
Unfortunately, the problem is not contained to Mongolia/China’s Inner Mongolia as the sand storms also affect cities in China, Korea and Japan. (Yours truly has had the lovely experience of enduring the “yellow dust storms” which frequent Korea every spring.)
The problem is so severe, that increased awareness is needed in the hopes that desertification can be stopped, or at least slowed. In an effort to address the growing concerns surrounding the fate of Mongolia’s land, a Rising Voices grantee, Nomad Green, is working to train citizen journalists in the use of new media in order to spread awareness about the country’s environmental crisis. Through the use of blogs, podcasts, videos and mapping mashups, participants will be better equipped in reaching a broader audience as part of their awareness campaigns.