International Mountain Day is a United Nations recognized day of observance that lands on Dec. 11, every year and has been celebrated since 2002.
It is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains and mountain forests, 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.
Healthy mountain forests are crucial to the ecological health not only here in B.C., but indeed, around the world, as they protect watersheds that supply freshwater to more than half the world’s people.
Mountains are crucial to life, especially for those of us here in the Interior of British Columbia. Mind you, whether you live at sea level or the highest elevations, you are still connected to mountains and affected by them in more ways than you can imagine.
Mountains provide most of the world’s freshwater, harbour a rich variety of plants and animals, and are home to one in 10 people.
They are also an important source of timber and non-wood products. Yet, each day, environmental degradation, the consequences of climate change, exploitative mining, armed conflict, poverty and hunger threaten the extraordinary web of life that the mountains support.
Protecting the mountains and their forests, and making sure they are carefully managed is an important step towards sustainable mountain development.
Every year there is a different theme related to mountain development and awareness, and this year the theme for the day will be “Mountains – Key to a Sustainable Future”.
This theme puts the focus on celebrating how mountains are crucial in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth in the context of poverty eradication, and on drawing attention to their generally sustainable and low-emission production models.
Why not celebrate the day by hiking along one of the many mountain trails around Barriere.