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Mongolia's Nomads

Mongolia's Nomads | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Through his Vanishing Cultures Project photographer Taylor Weidman documents threatened ways of life.  About his work in Mongolia, he states: "Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In times of ecological hardships and global economic restructuring, many children of nomadic herders are seeking employment out of the rural areas and in the urban environment.  The cultural change that this represents is for Mongolia enormous and is captured wonderfully in this photo gallery.  Pictured above are the ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city Ulaanbaatar.  Ulaanbaatar houses a permanent population of displaced nomads. During the winter, Ulaanbaatar is the second most air-polluted capital in the world due largely to coal burning.


Tags: Mongolia, images, indigenous, culture, globalization.  

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Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 12, 2013 6:44 PM

What factors are threatening pastoral herders way of life? Why?

Cam E's curator insight, April 8, 11:45 AM

Time for more pictures, my favorite part of scooping. Mongolia is almost entirely forgotten in US education, to the point where many of the people I know aren't even sure if there's a government at all. My favorite part of these pictures comes from the fusion of technology and tradition though. We see traditional housing and boys carrying water to their homes, and then a flat screen television in the makeshift house. Motorcycles are used to herd animals, and solar polar is used to power cell phones for the nomads. What I think is important here among other things is the idea that humanity has potentially reached a point where we cannot go backwards tech-wise. The dark ages in Europe saw knowledge being lost, and there are claims that humanity will wipe out its own tech in a great war, but now that we have the knowledge and ability to use solar panels and automobiles, I don't believe we'll ever lose them as a species.

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