International mountain day is celebrated on 11 December every year to spread awareness about the necessity of mountains in our life and to highlight the opportunities and challenges in mountain development. Also, to build alliances that will bring positive changes to mountain people and environment around the world.

Importance of Mountains

Mountains are the vital source of water about 60 to 80 percent of the world fresh water originates from mountains.

  • Mountains attract about 20 percent of tourists to their beautiful sceneries.
  • Mountains keep 28 percent of the earth’s forests.
  • Mountains are producers of certain important food crops.
  • Mountains are the habitat of plants and animals.

Mountain and mountain people are being affected by climate change. Global warming is a significant reason for melting the mountain glaciers at untraditional rates.

Sustainable Mountain Tourism”

The theme for International Mountain Day 2021 is “Sustainable Mountain Tourism”

Mountain tourism is well liked form of destination travelling and mountains contribute to 20% in tourism industry.

Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation. It is a way to preserve the natural, cultural, and spiritual heritage, to promote local crafts and high value products, and celebrate many traditional practices such as local festivals.

But due to Covid-19 tourism industry has suffered a lot. The pandemic affected economies, livelihoods, public services, and opportunities on all continents. In mountains, the restrictions of the pandemic have further compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities.

This crisis can be seen as an opportunity to rethink mountain tourism and its impact on natural resources and livelihoods, to manage it better, and to harness it towards a more resilient, green, and inclusive future.

How to celebrate this day?

Celebrate this International Day 2021 with your community and friends preparing an event or joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MountainsMatter. Pass on some of the key messages or share about the biodiversity in the mountains near you, or a photo of your favorite mountain. Apply for partnerships with organizations that help in conserving mountains is a great idea. Raise awareness in your local communities on December 11 by hosting socially distanced events. Organizing virtual presentations or art competitions is a good idea to gain the interest of younger kids and adults alike. Engage in development projects rewarding mountain people for their stewardship services.

About the Author: Farheen Tariq is a Software Engineer and highly concerned about climate change and the earth's devastation from plastic. She has started a group on Facebook "Earth Savers" putting all her efforts to spread awareness and to build a community that works for the betterment of Earth.