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The Sherpas and the Mount Everest region of Nepal have been extensively and systematically studied for decades for the advancement of Western science, namely in the fields of anthropology, genetics, geography, glaciology, and physiology. Recent institutional scientific reports (Wester et al. 2019) have claimed that even in the best-case scenario, one-third of the Himalayan glaciers could be gone by 2100 and if the current emission trends continue, two-thirds of the glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. In the wake of this new reality, with sustainability of our mountain people and mountain home literally at stake, how is the Western science equipped (or not) to deal with its future predictions?
Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Ph.D
., is an anthropologist from Nepal. Her research areas include climate change, Indigeneity and the Sherpa diaspora. She is a visiting assistant professor at the Pacific Lutheran University. She is also affiliated with the South Asia Center of the University of Washington. She served as program director for their Nepal Studies Initiative.
She is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA
) and the recipient of the 2014 Senior Fellowship award from the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS
). She is a member of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Committee (2019-2021) of the Non-Resident Nepali Association, National Coordination Council of USA. She is a member of the Mountain Spirit (MS
), a community led organization dedicated for the wellbeing of mountain communities in Nepal. She currently serves on the advisory board of The Juniper
Fund, which supports families and communities impacted by the loss of high-altitude workers on the mountains.
She is completing a project with Jim Fisher
studying the Sherpa diaspora in the United States and South Asia. Jim first visited Pasang’s village to work with Sir Edmund Hillary in the 1960s. In this project, they bring their complementary yet different backgrounds to explore how the socio-economic lives of the Sherpas have changed in the last 60 years.
Pasang Yangjee Sherpa was born and raised in Kathmandu. Her family is from Monzu (Entrance to the Sagarmatha
(Everest) National Park, before Namche).