TRAVEL NEWS: Award-winning Social Enterprise Ensures Ecotourism in The Himalayas Spiti Valley

The Sierra Club announced the organization’s first ever “Green Energy & Green Livelihoods Achievement Award” winners for India. The new award recognizes community initiatives to promote green economic development, adaptation of renewable energy alternatives and organizational leadership in a grassroots environmental campaign.  The co-recipient of the first $40,000 USD award is Ecosphere Spiti, from the mountainous Himachal Pradesh region in the remote Himalaya Mountains.

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India

Ecosphere successfully created sustainable livelihoods linked to conservation and ecotourism.  Praising Ecosphere Spiti, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said, “We set out on this path more than a century ago by promoting conservation awareness through mountain outings in the United States. We are delighted to recognize Ecosphere Spiti because it so clearly shares our own ideals for protecting a nation’s cultural and natural heritage for future generations.”

“It is a great honor for Ecosphere to be the joint recipient of the Sierra Award,” said Ishita Khanna, President, Ecosphere Spiti. “We are extremely thrilled and pleased since this is the first time the Sierra Club has instituted an award of this nature in India. It really motivates us to try and attempt to emulate what the Sierra Club has successfully achieved over more than a 100 years. It will indeed be a long journey; however, it is highly inspiring for us to learn that the Sierra Club sees the seeds of their own beginnings in Ecosphere.”

“It seems fitting that one of the Sierra Club’s first steps in India is to recognize a group that reminds us of our own beginnings and coincidentally my birthplace,” said Pritpal Singh Kochhar, a long time Sierra Club Outings trip leader from New York, commenting on the award to Ecosphere Spiti. “Though the Himalayas are somewhat taller than the Sierra Nevada, both mountain ranges are threatened by climate change.”

“For more than 100 years the members of the Sierra Club have harnessed public demand for conservation and for reducing natural resource consumption in the United States. But neither America nor India can win the battle against climate change alone,” said Sadhana Shenoy of Portland, Oregon and a founding member of the Sierra Club’s India Advisory Council. “We must share resources and do this together.”

To read more from the original press release from the Sierra Club, click here. 


Editor’s Note: Original World offers unique cultural immersion tours to the Spiti Valley and other remote regions in the Himalayas, including the upcoming tour Ancient Cultures of the Indian Himalayas, which departs in June 2014.

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