December 11 - World Mountain Day
The mountains: natural treasures
Nature is essential to human survival, providing oxygen, regulating weather, pollinating crops, producing food and clothing. Yet it is under increasing pressure. In total, 75% of the earth's surface has been altered by human activity, forcing flora and fauna to retreat into ever smaller areas.
However, the mountains contain priceless natural treasures that must be preserved. They host about 50% of the world's biodiversity and provide fresh water to half of humanity. In addition, 15% of the world's population lives in mountains.
International Mountain Day - 20 years already!
Unfortunately, climate change and overexploitation are becoming very threatening. As the world's climate continues to warm up, mountain people - among the poorest in the world - have to struggle to survive. Melting glaciers at an unprecedented rate are affecting the downstream freshwater supply of millions of people.
The growing attention to the mountain issue prompted the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the International Mountains Year. Subsequently, UN Member States chose December 11 as the date to celebrate an International Mountain Day starting in 2003.
The origins of the day date back to 1992, when the document "Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development" (also known as Chapter 13) was adopted as part of the Agenda 21 action plan of the Environment and Development Conference.
More recently, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2022 as the International Year of Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions.
"Women Moving Mountains" - 2022 theme
The theme of 2022 "Women Move Mountains" is very appropriate because women play a key role in the environmental protection and economic and social development of mountain areas. They are involved in the management of mountain resources, protection of biodiversity, transmission of traditional knowledge, knowledge of local cultures and traditional medicine. Indeed, the increasing variability of climatic conditions, the lack of investment in mountain agriculture and rural development, encourage men to migrate elsewhere in search of other means of subsistence. Women stay, adapt and work in place under increasingly difficult conditions. Their involvement, especially in rural areas, is becoming an important driver in the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Whether they are farmers, saleswomen, entrepreneurs, craftswomen or community leaders, women are constantly developing mountain economies.
International Mountain Day 2022 is an opportunity to emphasize the need to empower mountain women. It is essential that they participate in decision-making and have more control over productive resources. In the coming months, the UN will prepare communication tools in the six official languages to intensify the right of women to influence strategic decisions around the mountain and its economy.
From economics to geology, women study mountains
Many women geologists know mountains well and have been studying them academically for more than two centuries. Marion Barré, geologist and Product Manager at Eliis, recently shared her journey through the French Alps and described the geological history of the mountains and valleys she has walked through. She follows the footsteps of the female geoscientists celebrated in the Women's Day article published by Eliis on March 8!