“Mountains are crucial to life. Whether we live at sea level or the highest elevations, we are connected to mountains and affected by them in more ways than we can imagine…” (from the FAO Sustainable Management of Mountains website)
The UN General Assembly designated 11 December as International Mountain Day in 2003 as an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands.
Mountains are crucial to life, providing most of the world’s freshwater, harbouring a rich variety of plants and animals, and providing a home to one in ten people. Yet, each day, environmental degradation, the consequences of climate change, exploitative mining, armed conflict, poverty and hunger threaten the extraordinary web of life that the mountains support.
Mountain Day offers an opportunity to discover what you can do to care for them. You might find you’re nurturing your own little mountaineer! Here are some interesting facts about mountains to get you started:
1). Mountains cover about one-fifth of the world’s land surface, occur in 75 per cent of the world’s countries and provide homes to at least one-tenth of the world’s people.
2). About 80 per cent of the planet’s fresh water originates in the mountains. All the world’s major rivers are fed from mountain sources.
3). Some of the highest mountains are at the bottom of the sea. Hawaii is at the top of a volcanic mountain in the Pacific Ocean, with more than half the mountain below water.
4). Mountain ranges are long chains or groups of mountains, such as the Rocky Mountains or Himalayan Mountains. Ranges are usually 1,000 or more miles long.
5). The highest mountain in the known universe is Olympus Mons, a giant volcano on Mars, almost three times the height of Mount Everest.