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My visit to Nepal and ‘Gravity Goods Ropeways’

Dear followers, I’m very excited to be writing this blog about my recent trip to Nepal! 

A very nice fellow called Andy Heath who works with an organisation called Practical Action kindly took me all the way to Nepal with him to meet some villagers who have had a big problem getting the things that they need, and the produce that they sell, up and down the mountain where they live.

Climate change in this area of Nepal means longer and more serious rainy seasons. That means heavy rain for a very long time – longer than usual. These heavy rains not only make the steep and narrow trails up the mountain very slippery and dangerous, they also erode away the soil, causing landslides. 

Local people had to walk up and down the mountain for hours on narrow paths carrying huge loads on their backs. That was the only way to carry goods, and it was really dangerous, especially when there was heavy rain that turned the paths into slippery mud. It was all very hard for the people living there.

Photo:©PracticalAction/Andrew Heath
Me with a Gravity Goods Ropeway!

But now they have a fantastic solution to the problem thanks to a fab new Gravity Goods Ropeway, or GGR, which uses the force of gravity to move goods safely up and down the mountain. From what I could see, a GGR is actually quite a simple system, and what’s great about it is that it doesn’t need electricity or fuel to make it work, so it’s a great example of green technology!

Whoever thought of this is a genius! As one load goes down the mountain another comes up at the same time. Perfect! You can find out how one works here.

With the GGR in place, people don’t have to carry heavy loads along the trails anymore: they can exchange goods up and down the mountain thanks to the force of gravity.

Of course, there are still many problems. The local people dream of having a road so they can get to towns and hospitals, and they are still very poor. 

That’s one thing I’ve noticed on my travels: it’s always the poorest people who are the first to suffer from the effects of climate change, yet those effects are caused by human activities very far away – in big cities, factories, and in distant richer countries where most people live unsustainably. 

Right, I’m hungry now, time to go fishing! Check in next month for my next blog! 

Polo


Special notice for schools:If you want to try making an aerial ropeway of your own in class, check out Practical Action’s squashed tomato challenge!

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