When Ladakh was opened to tourism and ‘development’, changes in culture, economy & environment were considered innocuous enough to be ignored but now they are proving to be shaking the future of Ladakh. In order to counter the growing trends towards “Western Modernity’ and to revitalize the cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies, in 1983 Helena Norberg-Hodge (Swedish linguist) established Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG). LEDeG, together with Helena Norberg, received “Right Livelihood Award” or “ Alternative Noble Prize” for their work.
Over the past decades, LEDeG has made several major contributions to Ladakh’s development. It pioneered in the field of appropriate technology. LEDeG was the first who talked & introduced the concept of usage of renewable energy in Ladakh and successfully constructed thousands of Passive and Active Space Houses and many villages were electrified with Solar Photo Voltaic panels. LEDeG even adopted many villages to re-instill the traditional way of farming, synonymous to Organic farming.
LEDeG has also empowered many rural women by forming SHGs (Self Help Group) and indulging them in handicraft activities. Since its inception, LEDeG has successfully installed over 60 Micro Hydro Units and almost 70 Hydraulic Ram Pump. Even LEDeG has established a Rural Building Center to promote traditional building technologies like compressed mud bricks and straw clay blocks.
Currently, LEDeG is involve in transforming Leh town into resilient, inclusive and livable Himalayan city.