India Summer Program
Sustainable Summer’s India program, in the rugged Himalayan region of Ladakh, is an intensive 4-week experience. Our high school students will explore the intersection of society, ecology, and culture in this remote part of India. Set in a dramatic desert landscape often referred to as the “Roof of the World” and sometimes called “Little Tibet” for its cultural and historical ties to Tibet, Ladakh is a world apart from other regions in India. Geopolitics and Ladakh’s remoteness resulted in isolation from the powerful forces of modernity even while other parts of India developed rapidly in the latter part of the 20th Century. Now Ladakh is charting an economic path forward. This program attempts to understand efforts to advance sustainable development in harmony with the local traditions and culture in Ladakh.
This program is for you if you’re seeking some incredible Himalayan scenery, a physically demanding and culturally rich experience, and are eager to unpack a whole lot of really fascinating sustainability opportunities and challenges. This is the most challenging program Sustainable Summer offers. High altitude, rustic living conditions, intense cultural experiences, hiking, and other physical and emotional demands will be placed on participants.
Why North India?
This is a truly special part of the world. Stunning natural beauty and a remarkable cultural heritage more than justify a visit. But we also want to consider this place in the context of sustainability. We’ll study a cross-section of sustainable development initiatives in Ladakh, including appropriate technologies (people-centric, small-scale, and socially and ecological ‘appropriate’); food and agriculture; water resource management; and empowerment and income generation in marginalized communities. We’ll consider competing models for development by comparing, for instance, the deployment of small-scale, locally autonomous renewable energy solutions, such as micro-hydro and solar, as an alternative to capital-intensive technologies (think huge dams and massive public works projects).
In this Sustainable Summer Program…
- You’ll connect with Ladahki teenagers at a cutting-edge alternative high school built on permaculture principles
- You’ll visit a Buddhist monastery built into a cliff wall a thousand feet above the “Grand Canyon of the Himalaya”
- You’ll share meals and experience farm life during a homestay in Tamachik, the first eco-model village of Ladakh
At a macro-level, we’ll also try to understand why millions in India still lack the basic human needs of clean water and and education, and what development pathways exist to address this problem based on lessons learned in Ladakh. We’ll spend much of some of our time living and learning with an organization that is addressing these challenges through education. There our students will spend two hours daily in a “conversation” class with Ladakhi high school students, helping them with English language acquisition. We’ll also experience Ladakh’s rich culture, explore its bounty of natural wonders, and take part in all sorts of other unforgettable experiences on this Sustainable Summer program in India and the Himalaya.