iconimg Wednesday, July 08, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 09, 2013
Robert Swan, the first man to walk on both poles, will on Saturday launch a renewable energy charged third pole education base (E-Base) in Ladakh, where a cloudburst had washed away several villages in 2011.

It will be the third such base in the world after the first one in Antarctic and second one coming up in the Pench tiger reserve in Central India. The fourth one will come up at the Arctic next year, Swan told Hindustan Times. 

Mahabodhi, a village in Ladakh, was devastated in a 2011 cloud burst. The base will act as a bridge between Ladakhi people and the outside world as it has internet facility and a digital library running on sustainable ecology.

The base in Ladakh was an idea of four young professionals who quit their lucrative corporate jobs to do something different.

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"It has taken us almost a year to build the concept to reality," said Paras Loomba, who quit his posh job to take up something which is close to his heart - trekking in Himalayas. Others, his friends, also chipped in to do something different.

Ladakh was selected as it is far away from modern knowledge tools and is a place where people still live in ecologically sustainable manner. Despite that, the 2011 cloudburst devastated the area.

"We want to educate locals through an education base about adverse impacts of climate change from across the world and to test renewable options in harsh climatic conditions," Swan, who set up first E-Base in the Antarctic.

Setting up of the E-Base would also result in launch of 11-day Great Himalayan Expedition. Groups from six continents including cycle for water team, which travelled 30,000kms from Alaska in United States to Antarctica to raise awareness about global water crises, are participating in the expedition, which includes trek and exploring the roof of the world.