INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN DAY
Every year on December 11th, International Mountain Day aims to increase awareness about the importance of mountains. The conservation of mountains is a key factor in sustainable development.
Mountains cover 27% of the earth’s landmass. According to the United Nations, 15% of the world’s population lives in the mountains. The mountains are also home to one-quarter of the world’s land animals and plants. Additionally, across the globe mountains provide freshwater to half of the world’s population. Another role mountains play is providing food resources. Six of the world’s most important food crops grow in the mountains.
As you can see, mountains are extremely important. Sadly, however, climate change and over-exploitation threaten our majestic mountains. As a result, the livelihood of those who live in the mountains is also under threat. Mountain people are among the poorest in the world. These threats to their home make it even more challenging to survive.
One of the best things you can do to help conserve mountains is reduce your carbon footprint.
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalMountainDay
Mountains are found in many countries around the world. Countries relying on their mountains for food, water, tourism, and habitats host various events on this day. The Albanian Alps Alliance chairperson has given an interview discussing the importance of mountains in his country. Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada convene each year on this day to discuss mountain ecosystems and the need to preserve these environments. Hiking excursions, film festivals, bonfires, and photo concerts are also held.
- If you live near the mountains, go camping or hiking.
- Reflect on a trip you took to the mountains. What impact did it have on you?
- Challenge your friends and family to name as many mountains as possible.
- Learn about the importance of mountains and the threats they face.
- Set a goal of climbing one of the world’s most climbed mountains including Mt. Fuji, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Listen to songs about mountains including “High on a Mountain Top” (Loretta Lynn), “The Mountain Song” (Jerry Garcia), “One Tree Hill” (U2), “Mountain Music” (Alabama).
- Share a beautiful picture of a mountain on social media with #InternationalMountainDay.
INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN DAY HISTORY
In 1992, the UN held the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). As part of the CSD, the UN adopted a document called “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development.” Due to the emphasis on the importance of mountains, the UN declared 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly designated December 11th as International Mountain Day. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is responsible for leading the observance of this day. Recent themes have included:
2019: Mountains Matter for Youth
2018: Mountains Matter
2017: Mountains Under Pressure: Climate, Hunger, Migration
2016: Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity
2015: Promoting Mountain Products for Better Livelihoods