Restoring the Sacred Web of Life in Siberia’s Golden Mountains
National Geographic News Watch
Gleb Raygorodetsky for Conversations with the Earth

This photo essay and article presents the Altai people living on the Golden Mountains of Altai UNESCO World Heritage Site in Russia’s southern Siberia. The Altai people herded their livestock at these mountains for countless generations, enduring many obstacles. Today, they face the new challenge–climate change. Torrential downpours, freezing and thawing splinter the rock and destroy petroglyphs, the millennia-old repository of Altai people’s culture. Permafrost that preserved the remains of Altai ancestors in burial grounds for thousands of years is melting. And unpredictable snowstorms, winter rains, thawing and freezing, decimate herds of sheep and horses on which Altai people still rely heavily. Local shamans are convinced that only through restoring their reverential relationship with the sacred and spiritual realms can Altai people and the rest of the world restore the balance of the Earth and its climate. See the photo essay and read the article …