New article by Andrew Jacobs in the NY Times explores the implications of “settling Yak and Sheep herders” on the assumption that their lives (and grasslands) will become better. Americans in Indian Country probably have a lot to say about this development in China and many lessons to share. Why has it been so hard on the Nomads?
— the stated rationale is protecting fragile grasslands but the science of transhumant herding contradicts this rationale — it in fact removes human stewards from a landscape they have been intimately part of for centuries
— better medical care and education but without evidence it will lead to better employment or livelihoods
–for many — alcoholism, unemployment, increased dependence on a coal mining economy to stay employed
–culture loss for multiple ethnic peoples and traditional knowledge loss (what does China lose that it poorly understands?)
–psychological damage from forced resettlement (World Bank has a resettlement policy for a reason)