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World Mountain Day

World Mountain Day

Today, December 11, is World Mountain Day; a day established by the United Nations “to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands.”

When it comes to our climate, mountains are an important ecosystem for observing changes. Whether it’s a pine beetle infestation in Montana, the ascendance of dust storms in the American Southwest, or the retreat of Himalayan glaciers, the mountains, which stand as these towering metaphors of strength and permanence, reveal how fragile our climate can be and how a seemingly insignificant change can lead to devastating consequences.

As the international community concludes their climate talks in Durban, South Africa, we have to ask if the tone of self-congratulations will be followed by observable remedies. We watch as evergreen forests turn rust-red. We watch as the mountain ice caps recede. We turn our eyes to our leaders (and, rightly, ourselves) and ask: what can we see that we are doing ? Earth is making a statement, now is the time to respond.


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