In Preserving Peaks; International Mountains day

December 11, 2023

Contributor: Saemah Shamim | Editor: Ari Stoltze

UIII.AC.ID, DEPOK - Every December 11, people worldwide join hands to honor and celebrate the breathtaking beauty of the earth’s mountains on International Mountain Day. Beyond their physical grandeur, mountains are acknowledged as the cradle of life, custodians of civilizations, and symbols of spirituality. Serving as essential water towers and climate regulators, they provide homes to millions and stand as sought-after tourist destinations, inspiring artists across the globe.

Despite their monumental importance, mountain environments face existential threats, including pollution, overuse, and the impacts of climate change. These challenges endanger the human populations, ecosystems, ancient cultures, wildlife, and glaciers that rely on the mountainous terrain of the earth. Urgent attention, respect, and collective safeguarding efforts are imperative to preserve these magnificent natural wonders.

International Mountain Day, observed annually on December 11, serves as a rallying point to advocate for sustainable development and raise awareness of the pivotal role that mountains play in society. The day emphasizes the importance of respecting mountain villages and their time-honored customs, fostering a global appreciation for the astounding diversity and beauty that mountains offer.

At the Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII), students from mountainous regions hold this day close to their hearts. Students from Nepal, which is nestled in the heart of South Asia with eight of the world's fourteen highest peaks, including the iconic Mount Everest, carry a deep connection to their mountainous landscapes. Boasting over 1,300 peaks rising above 6,000 meters and a rich tapestry of more than 100 ethnic groups and languages, Nepal is a testament to the resilient mountain spirit that has triumphed over numerous obstacles.

Athar, a student from Pakistan, shared his personal connection to International Mountain Day, recounting a memorable adventure to Jarogo waterfall in Swat Valley, Tehsil Matta, during Eid. Despite the challenges faced, the journey brought a sense of fulfillment, echoing the passion and love for trekking and exploring the high peaks.

Malika from Uzbekistan expressed her fascination with mountain camps and climbing peaks, recognizing mountains as essential regulators of wind—a vital force in nature.

As the world unites to celebrate the magnificence of mountains on International Mountain Day, it is a poignant reminder of the global imperative to cooperate in conserving and protecting these vital ecosystems for the well-being of present and future generations.

In the eloquent words of mountaineer Reinhold Messner, "Mountains aren't fair or unfair, they're just dangerous."