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Celebrating International Mountain Day 2023

Celebrating International Mountain Day: A Reflection on Two Decades of Appreciation

Today, December 11, marks the celebration of International Mountain Day, a special occasion that has been observed globally for the past two decades. The genesis of this commemoration dates back to December 20, 2002, when the United Nations General Assembly, recognizing the significance of mountains, enacted Resolution 57/245, designating December 11 as a day dedicated to these majestic landforms.

Mountains, covering almost 30% of the Earth’s land surface, are not merely geographical features; they are ecosystems teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Beyond their ecological importance, mountains hold cultural and spiritual significance for many societies, often being revered as the abode of gods and spirits. The UN’s decision to focus on restoring and preventing further degradation of mountain ecosystems this year underscores the critical need to protect these vital regions.

The theme for 2023 to 2027, as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, emphasizes the importance of developing green economies and technologies, fostering cooperation among mountain countries, and promoting scientific education for the sustainable use of mountains. This initiative is a crucial step towards ensuring the longevity of these precious environments.

As we celebrate International Mountain Day, it’s essential to acknowledge the role of individuals like the late Swedish adventurer Goran Kropp, whose eco-friendly expedition to Everest Base Camp in 1996 serves as an inspiring example. Kropp’s commitment to a sustainable approach highlights the pressing need to address the environmental impact of human activities on these sacred peaks.

In the words of William Butler Yeats, “Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind, Run on the top of the disheveled tide, And dance upon the mountains like a flame.” These lines beautifully capture the enchantment and allure that mountains hold for us—an escape from the mundane and a connection to something greater.

As we reflect on the last two decades of celebrating International Mountain Day, let us renew our commitment to preserving these natural wonders. Whether through eco-friendly expeditions, responsible tourism, or global conservation efforts, each of us plays a role in ensuring that mountains continue to inspire, captivate, and endure for generations to come.

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