Today we began the day with a crash-source on the basics of camping including the idea of leaving no trace and impacting the environment as little as possible. Later in the day we went into the town of Mussoorie. Today’s discussion helped to answer what factors influence health for people living in Himalayan villages. Tourism, especially those visitors camping in a way that negatively impacts the land on which they are staying, can cause problems for people in villages that rely on this land for their livelihoods. When we went over how to camp in an environmentally cognizant way, we learned to avoid leaving any trash or even introducing unnatural products such as foods that were prepared for humans. Additionally, in terms of human waste, it is necessary to dig a whole 6 inches deep to avoid animals from consuming it which would also cause them negative health consequences. Any sort of unnatural substance introduction can cause illness in the animals and lead to negative impacts within the food chain that will eventually influence humans. In total, tourism heavily influences the animals in the environment, thereby influencing the entire ecosystem. People in rural villages or those within the mountains where treks are popular will resultantly have less wildlife they are able to rely on, and what is available may not be up to the health standards necessary to produce proper resources humans need economically and physically.
Later, while in the town of Mussoorie and walking these busy, urban streets, it was easy to make comparisons to the Himalayan villages we have discussed. This separation of wealth and resources between the main areas of town and the more rural areas makes it more difficult for rural people to seek care and medications. In the town, we saw multiple pharmacies and doctor’s offices, but the issue of cost and transportation do not make this easily accessible to those in remote villages. This influence on village health is less in relation to natural resources and wildlife and more with the physical layout of Himalayan land and location of health clinics and pharmacies.