Mongolia at Crossroads

Global market pressures and climate change are endangering the traditional life of Mongolian nomads

Onoceans
9 min readJan 30, 2020

The lives of Mongolia’s nomadic people, who make up about a third of this landlocked country’s small population of 3 million, has been shaped by climate for over millennia. These pastoral herders, who live on the country’s vast steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands in summer and living off their meat and milk during the long, cold winters, have developed an intricate taboo-system that helps them remain in balance with nature’s cycles.

photo by Saif Alnuweiri

Mongolia’s pastoral herders graze their livestock on the the country’s vast steppes in summer and live off their meat and milk during the long, cold winters. But as their pasturelands get degraded, many of them are being forced to migrate to urban centers and join the ranks of the urban poor.

Most taboos are connected to food scarcity and rough natural conditions. All natural phenomena, places, and wild animals have protectors, the “Lord Spirits”. There is a multi-layered taboo-system concerning fire, which, observed from a nature preservation point of view, has to do with preventing the outbreak of fires in the dry continental climate, especially in arid areas. The Lord Spirits of fire are thought to be especially sensitive, and there are…

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Onoceans

Solarpunk, ecological economist🪐 Rethinking culture, future, equality, science, climate 🌍 Big Picture& Brand Naming📧 For projects: ono@onoceans.com