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Earth Hour Header 2014
TREKKING THE HIMALAYAS TO WITNESS GLOBAL GLACIER RETREAT
Last month I took it upon myself to head into the Nepal Himalaya for 25 days. This was actually the second time within 2 years that I decided to head into the same area. Many of you know about the famous mountain that goes by the name of Mt. Everest, and as the tallest mountain in the world it reaches unbelievable heights of 8848m.
I ventured into this area of the Himalayas, where I found myself climbing the smaller Mera Peak (6476m) and trekking around the area that I fell in love with in my previous visit. Even though this part of the world feels almost like familiar territory, every single sight was still just as awe inspiring as the first time I was here. Within the Sagarmatha National Park you will find yourself immersed within some of the most dramatic landscape in the world, it is certainly a sight for sore eyes!
However, this time around there was an alternative motive for taking myself into this area. It was part of my Earth Hour “I Will If You Will” #IWIYW challenge, which was attempting to inspire people to spend more time in nature, while promoting it on social media networks such as Instagram via the #yourplanet hash-tag or on Facebook and Twitter. I also created a challenge on the “IWIYW” YouTube channel, which dared people to bike to work for a week if I spent more than 30 days trekking in the Himalayas; this is still an ongoing challenge!
I did also want to bring attention to the rising threat of global glacier retreat, which is directly related to climate change. This phenomenon of glacial retreat is not isolated and is occurring worldwide, especially in the Nepal Himalaya, where ALL glaciers are in a state of retreat - some backing up by 20 metres per day.
During my time here I had to cross many glaciers small and large, which gave me the opportunity to cross Nepal’s largest glacier, Ngozumpa. I had heard that lakes were forming on these glaciers and the claim turned out to be true, many unstable lakes were forming and not even Nepal’s largest glacier could repel the Earth’s warming atmosphere. Glacial retreat is a major threat to high and low altitude ecosystems, as they are the source of fresh water for millions of plants and animals. Not only a threat to non-human species, the melting of the Himalaya glaciers is a direct threat to the livelihoods of billions of people in Asia, as much of the irrigation for food crops and drinking water is dependent on them.
Climate change has no political boundaries and will affect everyone, and glacial retreat in the Nepal Himalaya is a perfect example of this. We as individuals are empowered with an infinite amount of tools to express positive change and alleviate the threat of climate change. We all have the choice to make a difference. Drive less, use more public transport; turn off your lights and install LED bulbs; buy locally grown foods; consume less (excessive material goods are a burden that we cannot afford); reduce, recycle and reuse; and support environmental and social organisations like Earth Hour and WWF as every action, volunteer effort and dollar will make a difference. The earth is in our hands, so let's look after it together for a beautiful thriving future!