Celebrated on December 11th annually, International Mountain Day is an international observance day whose goal is to raise awareness about the role that mountainous regions play in the lives of people and their importance to our planet. While most people take mountains for granted and don’t think much about them, mountains are actually very important for the well-being of the planet. Mountains provide numerous resources such as freshwater, food, and energy. And the scarcity of these resources is only going to increase over the next few decades as the human population continues to grow and use an even greater share of the Earth’s resources.
History of International Mountain Day
This international observance day can be traced all the way back to 1992. This is when Chapter 12 of Agenda 21 was adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. It was entitled “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” and brought the world’s attention to the importance of mountains and mountain ranges to the world. As the attention towards this issue increased, it was then decided that 2002 would become the International Year of Mountains, with the hopes that it would not only raise awareness but would also stir action on sustainable mountain development. The effort was successful enough that on December 20th, 2002, the United Nations designated December 11 as International Mountain Day. The following year, on December 11th, 2003, the first International Mountain Day was observed.
The Symbol of this Day
The symbol of this day is three black triangles that appear next to each other and each of these triangles has another symbol embedded in them. These triangles represent mountains, of course, and each of the embedded symbols represents something that mountains provide the Earth and humanity. For instance, the triangle on the left has a blue diamond at its apex and that represents ice – ice that melts and becomes fresh water. The triangle in the middle has an orange circle at its center and that represents the minerals and resources that are mined from the inside of mountains and the triangle which appears on the right has its lower right corner painted green – which represents the crops that grow on mountains.
Celebrating this Day
International Mountain Day is celebrated in a variety of different ways. All over the world, seminars, symposiums, and lectures are held on the subject of mountains, how they impact the environment and how to help the communities that rely on their resources. Mountain climbing associations may hold special climbing events, schools may hold special events for students and organizations whose work may center around mountains may hold special events for their members. However, while this day may be an international observance day it is not a public holiday and as such most businesses, government agencies and post offices remain open on this day.
International Mountain Day is a great day for people to get together either to celebrate the contributions made by mountains and mountain ranges or to raise awareness to the issues that affect mountains and the people who depend on them. Climb, hike or drive your favorite mountain; plan a mountain themed party; or raise awareness about the plight of people who live in mountainous regions and how resources can be used without further degrading mountain ecosystems that continue to become even more fragile.