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70 years since the first successful ascent of Everest, the tallest mountain on earth – Chomolungma, “Goddess, Mother of the World”, as it is known in Tibetan, and Sagarmatha, “Head above the Clouds” in Nepali – is undergoing unprecedented and largely irreversible change.
With high mountains across the Hindu Kush Himalaya warming at double the global rate, scientists warn that the 1.5 degrees of warming we are predicted to pass in the next five years puts this crucial biome in jeopardy.
2 billion people, including millions facing chronic hunger, rely on glacier and snow-melt from these mountains to drink and to cultivate crops. Countless lifeforms depend on these landscapes for their habitat.
The emergency is upon us. There’s no time left. Every fraction of a degree matters and NOW is the time to act. Please help us get the word out:
Taboche and Khumbu Valley [Before/After]
Taboche peak (6367 m) as seen by Erwin Schneider from the east, 1950s. The photo was taken from above the Nangkartshung monastery Taboche, and its neighbour Jobo Laptsan (6440 m, centre, the mountain that looks as though it is bent and pointing north, preside over the lower Khumbu valley. At their base is the path to Everest base camp. Tsholo Tso is a moraine dammed lake at the foot of Jobo Laptsan The moraine seen as a white, glacial-l feature, is blocking the lake. (Photo: Erwin Schneider)
Taboche and Khumbu Valley seen from the same point in 2007 by Alton Byers. The clean debris-free glaciers and ice nestled below the Tabocha summit have been reduced considerably by recent warming trends. The ice in the small glaciers below the ridges to the right (north) has suffered the most, perhaps because of its lower altitude, below 6000 metres Comparison of satellite images of Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park taken in the 1970s, and in recent years shows that hundreds of these small glaciers have disappeared. (Photo: Alton Byers)
Human activity has pushed Earth’s systems close to tipping points beyond which it will be extremely challenging to sustain life.
The tallest mountain on earth, Everest – or Chomolungma, Goddess, Mother of the World, as it is known in Tibetan, is undergoing unprecedented and largely irreversible change.
Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and deforestation are warming the planet to such an extent that two-thirds of the 54,000 glaciers, holding 6,000 km3 of ice, across the Hindu Kush Himalaya mountain range are at risk of vanishing.
As scientists warn of the 1.5°C threshold being passed – even if just temporarily – in the next five years, global warming threatens to unleash catastrophe across the Hindu Kush Himalayas: jeopardising the lives and livelihoods of 240 million people in the mountains and 2 billion more people downstream.
On glaciers that surround Everest, ice has thinned by over 100 metres in just six decades, and the rate of thinning has nearly doubled since 2009. Imja Lake, in the Everest region, is one of the most dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal. The Khumbu Glacier, which is the iconic starting point for most expeditions, is precariously close to melting.
Dangerous climate change has already reached this region, causing catastrophic floods, droughts, heatwaves and other natural disasters. Nobody is safe, but, in a region where more than half the population are malnourished, the most vulnerable will be the hardest hit. These trends are set to worsen as the planet warms. There is no time left. To borrow a phrase from mountaineering, there is now just the narrowest of windows in which to act.
We – mountain communities, climbers and scientists – stand at the top of the world today, 70 years after humanity’s first ascent of Everest, to call for governments and business leaders and every man, woman and child across the world to come together to protect Earth’s mountains, snow, and ice.
With even 1.5 degrees of warming too hot for the Hindu Kush Himalaya and the quarter of humanity who live within or rely on it, every fraction of a degree matters. We urge leaders of all nations: make real on your commitments to make rapid and deep emission cuts, end all new coal, gas and oil exploration, and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
We are calling for the protection of natural ecosystems; the scaling up of work to halt deforestation while increasing afforestation and reforestation; much greater investment and faster flows of funding in climate resilience and adaptation, including early-warning systems for all mountain communities; greater recognition and integration of local and indigenous communities in decision-making; and greater international cooperation and funding for loss and damage.
In signing this declaration, we pledge our commitment to fight to prevent the worst climate impacts, to fight to preserve our planet for current and future generations. Only by acting now will there still be time for us to build a sustainable and resilient world and choices made now will decide all our futures.
We invite you to lend your voice and show your support by updating your Facebook and LinkedIn cover photos. By doing so, you’ll help us spread the word far and wide.
Let’s make our profiles stand out and inspire others to join the cause!
Here’s how you can get involved:
Update your Facebook and LinkedIn cover photos: Every cover photo change counts!
Share your passion through posts: Use one of our carefully crafted captions below to express your Social Media Posts
Cover Post Stories
🚨ATTENTION: The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is undergoing unprecedented and largely irreversible change, driven by global warming.
If we do not take urgent action to #SaveOurSnow, two-thirds of glaciers in the region will disappear before the end of this century. There is no time left.
In the 70 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest, rising global temperatures have put the mountain in danger.
In the next 70 years, two-thirds of glaciers on the region’s mountains will disappear if we do not take urgent action to #SaveOurSnow
The climate emergency is here and now for Mount Everest and for the people and nature across the Hindu Kush Himalaya.
The adverse impacts of climate change are already upending lives and devastating livelihoods across the region, as seen in the floods in Pakistan last year.
We need urgent global action to #SaveOurSnow and ice before it’s too late.
⚠️WARNING:Breaching the 1.5 degrees threshold enshrined in the Paris Agreement will unleash catastrophe across the Hindu Kush Himalayas: jeopardising the lives and livelihoods of 240 million people in the mountains and 2 billion more people downstream.
We need leaders to decarbonise now to #SaveOurSnow and ice.
🌏CALL TO ACTION
The Hindu Kush Himalaya is home to the world’s highest peaks and contains the largest volume of ice on earth after the polar regions. However, despite servicing a quarter of the world’s population, the impacts of climate change on the region are under-documented.
@ICIMOD, the leading institute dedicated to mountain communities and the environment, is calling on everyone who cares about the region to highlight the impacts of climate change by sharing your stories and photographs from the mountains over the years.
From the top of the world, let’s make sure we’re heard.
Spread the word through stories: Share your dedication with your followers on Instagram stories. Upload a photo or video showcasing your support for the cause, tag ICIMOD, and use the hashtag #SaveOurSnow. Together, we’ll amplify our message and inspire action!
Note: By participating in this campaign, you grant ICIMOD permission to share your posts, stories, and images related to the #SaveOurSnow campaign on their social media platforms and website.