11 December: International Mountain Day
The International Mountain Day 2016 was observed across the world on 11 December 2016 with the theme Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity.
This year celebrations are aimed at highlighting the Mountain Cultures. Mountains encompass communities with ancient cultures and traditions and are places of importance for religious worship and pilgrimage all over the world.
The concept of traditional heritage and culture is inherently linked with livelihoods of people in the mountains.
• Mountains cover around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface and play important role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth.
• They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to around 915 million mountain people around the world, but moreover they also indirectly benefit billions of people who live downstream.
• They are the sources of springs and rivers and are valued as the home of deities throughout history like in times of drought, the Kikuyu people faced Mount Kenya and asked the God Ngai for rain. The Inca people constructed their temples on the highest peaks over 6000 metres in the Andes.
• Mountains and mountain-protected areas are places of spiritual solace, inspiration, recreation and relaxation.
• Mountains offer all sorts of possibilities to tourists ranging from skiing and climbing to visiting the rock churches in Ethiopia and viewing mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
• According to UNESCO, 376 of the world’s 669 Biosphere Reserves contain mountain ecosystems.