We have seen a lot of thunderstorms and wind these past two days or so, and it’s become a bit of the norm. But on the whole Nepal is not really a windy country. Sure there are places where the winds are high; parts of the Karnali Region and Mustang come to mind. I can only go on my personal experience of course. And I suppose it depends where you come from when you think Nepal is a windy country or not. Coming from Scotland I can categorically say Nepal is not windy!
Recently I was reminiscing with my mother about summer days at the beach in Scotland. We lived in two seaside towns so I spent most of my childhood and teenage years by the sea. In my childhood, going overseas for holidays was something only for the rich. We were more likely to spend a week in a cottage in the Lakes Districts (England) or in places like the Isle of Skye (Scotland). Other days during the long school holidays were spent on the beach. Huddled behind a windbreaker!
Mum and I laughed at the thought of these, now old-fashioned, but pretty indispensible items for beach life in Scotland. Often made of stripy canvas material, mum recalled hers was beige in color—and might still even be in the garage, these 40 something years on since she moved into that house! What is a windbreaker, you might well ask. A large piece of canvas with poles on each end that were fixed into the sand. We then huddled behind the canvas, out of the wind. Supposedly out of the wind!
We recalled sand in our sandwiches and sand between my father’s toes. Which he hated and thus was part of the socks with sandals brigade. Not a good look! Many a summer’s day was spent braced behind the windbreaker, or running screaming into the extremely cold North Sea, and building sand castles in the sand. Mum reminisced that as a newly qualified midwife who worked the night shift, she would go for a swim in the sea after finishing work in the early morning. Now that explains a lot—hardy constitution or what?
As a young adult I moved to Edinburgh—the epitome of a windy city. Coming out of the house in the morning only to have to go back in to put on a more fitting skirt as the wind had just blown the original loose fit one over my head was not unusual. Nor was standing on the Waverly Bridge waiting for the night bus home in a full blow gale. Gale in other countries perhaps, but a just a breeze in Scotland.
Dotted along the horizons in Scotland are wind turbines, or windmills. These generate an incredible amount of power to run Scottish homes. I had always thought it possible to install these windmills in certain part of Nepal. There are companies who are looking on this, along with solar and other sustainable energy, such as Wind Power Nepal. The founder of this company is someone I met many years ago when this was just an idea running in the back of his head.
Interestingly, founder Kushal Gurung has a Masters in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh—so yes, he used to live in that windy city too! He is working on the exact opposite of what my mother was doing. While she was deflecting the wind with her windbreaker, Gurung is capturing it for a sustainable future. And right now more than ever, we need sustainable and environmental-friendly mindsets and plans.