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Where's Gaia?

Posted on May 26 2009
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Last year, science journalist Gaia Vince quit her job as news editor at the internationally renowned science journal Nature to go travelling. But she had no intention of following any of the traditional tourist trails; she was not going to be embarking on a road trip across the States or trekking the Great Wall of China. And she would not be lounging on beaches or ordering room service at five star hotels.

Gaia, daughter of ASK’s Principal Consultant Ivan Vince, was planning a very different kind of adventure – one that would take her to some of the poorest places on the planet. Her mission: to observe firsthand the impact of climate change on the developing world.

Five months in and Gaia and travelling companion Nick have already visited Nepal, India, Bangladesh and the Maldives. Gaia’s reports have appeared on the BBC and in New Scientist and Seed magazine. She also regularly updates her blog, Wandering Gaia, with ground reports and videos from the places she visits, as well as Nick’s photos.

At the Ganges, Gaia and Nick witnessed the effects that the melting of the Himalayan glaciers are having on local communities – as the river swells and erodes away the land, it takes with it the livelihoods of once-wealthy farming families, now forced to squat on Government land and roll cigarettes to make a living. In the Maldives, they visited islands that will soon disappear due to rising sea levels and met victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, who can only brace themselves for more of the same – warmer moister air will bring more violent storms, according to scientists.

The twosome have also stumbled across some innovative low-carbon schemes and others designed to mitigate the local impacts of climate change. Just outside Bangalore in India, Gaia met the manager of “eco hotel” Our Native Village, which is powered by a wind turbine and solar panels. The hotel pool self-cleans using plant roots and instead of air-con the building is kept cool by some clever architecture, which functions as a natural ventilation system.

To keep up-to-date with Gaia’s travels, subscribe to Wandering Gaia. You can also post comments on any of the stories you read at her blog.

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Last changed: May 27 2009 at 7:13 PM


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