Twisha Mehta and Jenny Bentley
How to embrace tensions in conservation interventions in a vulnerable Himalayan region
Our case study is set in Lachen, a remote village in an ecologically vulnerable Himalayan region in Sikkim, India. Numerous conservation initiatives have been planned and implemented in the region but didn’t necessarily succeed due to the cultural, political and geographical complexities of the place. As a team of designers and an anthropologist, we tackle these complexities through a systems thinking approach, one that has led to designing an interpretation centre in the region via co-creation. In the initial stages of our project, we found tensions in perspectives and values within the system that drove us to seek innovative ways to embrace these paradoxes by using ethnographic methodologies and emergent technologies to rapidly reconstruct relations in this system. Through this paper, we ask how we can measure the impact of this resilient model and how we can find ways of improved mutual communication between the multidisciplinary collaborators in order to enhance understanding of the modalities of a systems thinking design approach.
Keywords: conservation, Himalayas, systems thinking, indigenous knowledge, emergent technologies