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Poorva Goel


A Short Road to Ruin

The Dibang Valley, India, lies within the Eastern Himalayas Global Biodiversity Hotspot. It is largely inhabited by the Idu Mishmi tribe. For over 13 years, the locals have been resisting a hydroelectricity project on the Dibang River that flows through their homeland. The hydroelectricity project threatens to displace the local community and destroy the fragile landscape.

This story is based on my visit to Anini, a town in the Dibang Valley. In Anini, I was generously hosted by Achili Mihu. Achili works with other Idu youth, collectively called the Dibang Team, to protect her community’s land and cultural relations with the natural world in her native Idu Mishmi homeland. She works passionately to protect nature and cultural traditions while creating sustainable and respectable employment.
80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity is on indigenous lands and indigenous people are 5 per cent of the world’s population. There is a connection between that and the worldviews of indigenous communities. As climate change intensifies, indigenous people and marginalised communities, dependent on natural resources, are disproportionately impacted. In this story, I wanted to capture the Idu Mishmi community’s worldviews that have helped conserve the landscape for centuries and the huge price they are paying for destructive development and climate change.

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