Living on the Steppe: a Life of Extremes


Mongolia is known for having very, very cold winters. It is normal for it to be as cold as -40 degrees in the winter! This means that people have to find lots of ways to stay warm, so they can still live and work here.

What makes this environment special or different?:

Mongolia is made up mostly of steppe, or vast, open plains land. Mongolia is very far from any ocean, which makes it very very cold and dry in the winter time and quite hot in the summer. In fact, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world. This means that from October to May, it is quite normal for there to be snow!

What parts of this environment help people to live here?:

The grassy steppe is the perfect environment in which to raise animals, and one of Mongolia's main industries is still herding (raising animals). These animals (cattle, goats and horses) are used for meat, milk, and wool products like cashmere. There are over forty million animals in Mongolia!

What challenges do people face living in this environment?:

Mongolia has a very harsh climate, and the winters are getting even worse as a result of climate change. This makes it even harder for people to live out on the steppe in gers, or traditional tent houses. These worsening winters are also causing lots of animals to freeze to death.