Our himals are melting! ICIMOD’s wake-up call to all Nepalis
“I am from Nepal, the land of Mount Everest.”
This is what we usually say while introducing ourselves at any international platform. The mountain range especially Mount Everest has always been our identity and the biggest attraction for the tourism industry. But for how long? This question haunts us ever since global warming started taking its toll on our mountains. To spread awareness about the growing impacts of climate change in the Himalayan region and bring the degrading condition of the glaciers to the attention of the public, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) organised a photo exhibition ‘Himalaya — Changing Landscapes’
as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations on December 2 at Basantapur Durbar Square.
Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Hisila Yami, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the exhibition. She said the ministry along with the Nepal Tourism Board had created ‘Climate Neutral Planet Fund-Nepal’ to respond to the effects of climate change.
Dr Andreas Schild, Director General, ICIMOD, underscored the immediate help needed to save the melting Himalayan region.
The exhibition showcased photographs of glaciers taken by Australian and Swiss scientists of the Everest region during the 1950s, and also photographs of the Himalayan glaciers taken by Swiss glaciologist Fritz Müller around the same time. Along with these black and white photographs were exhibited the photographs taken by mountain geographer Alton Byers, who revisited many sites of the original photographs in 2007 to take replicas, and the differences in the photographs is but prominent.
Suresh Raj Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University, who had come for the exhibition said, “I love Himalayas and have travelled to see Tengboche range, Rolwaling Himal, Langtang, Everest range and to Annapurna base camp. If this exhibition is successful in making even a few aware and make them understand the need of preservation, that will be great.” Along with the photographs, a block of ice symbolising the melting of glaciers had also been kept, with a message ‘Average warming in Nepal for last 30 years has been nine times larger than the global average. The majority of the Himalayan glaciers are melting rapidly.’ — HNS