Mountains are home to 15% of the world's population and host about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Of the 20 plant species that supply 80% of the world's food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, and apples. More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life.
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people.
This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take care of these natural treasures. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN to declare to 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. The first international day was celebrated for the first time the following year, 2003.
Mountain Day has been created so that we can embrace the wonder and magic of the mountains around us. There are some truly spectacular mountains all around the world. You may have even had the pleasure of climbing one or several of them. Some of the most famous mountains include the likes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Fuji, and Mount Everest. On this date, we appreciate all of the world’s mountains. It is also a good day to take some time to reflect on those who have lost their lives while attempting to do dangerous mountain climbs and to pay tribute to them.
“In every walk with nature, one received far more than he seeks.”John Muir
Mountain biodiversity is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day, in alignment with the 'Biodiversity Super Year' and negotiation of the post-2020 biodiversity framework, the Day will celebrate mountain biodiversity and seek to increase understanding of the threats that it faces.
Celebrate this International Day 2020 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.