#MountainsMatter: International Mountain Day

The 11th of December is “International Mountain Day”. Established in 2002 by the UN General Assembly, it has been celebrated every year since to create awareness about the importance of mountains and to bring positive change to mountain people and environments around the world.

Aoraki/Mt Cook by Marty Capener

"This was also taken during the NZ Photography workshop. I was at a lodge that was 50km away from the mountain and again I was shooing at sunset. The light was very dramatic and gave this rather pleasant colour to the sky and mountain over a period of about 25minutes. Nikkor 55-300mm lens @ 300mm, f11, ISO 100, 1/13sec exposure."

This year’s theme is dedicated to the biodiversity of the mountainous environments of our planet. Mountains cover 27% of the Earth’s land surface, hosting half of the biodiversity hotspots and 30% of the global key biodiversities areas, their unique altitude topography, exposure, and isolation creating the right conditions for a startling array of different plants, animals, and crops to grow. [source]

Spring Time by Dragan Keca

"Spring time on Central Plateau with Mt Ruapehu in the background."

It’s important to raise awareness of the threats that these rich ecosystems face, from climate change to unsustainable farming, mining, and logging. These are all activities that in addition to natural disasters are causing an even quicker loss of biodiversity and degradation of the environment for mountain communities. 15% of the world’s population live in the mountains with 1 in every 2 people living in rural mountain communities in developing countries facing the threat of food insecurity. [source]

Milford Gold by Christine Jacobson

"The sun was slowly sinking behind Milford Peak when made this photo. It was taken several years ago and was sitting unedited in my files. When I rediscovered it, I wondered why I had not bothered processing it at the time. So I have learned that it pays not to delete all your old unprocessed photos, and to periodically go back to check them out."

As a photographer, you can play a key role in helping the restoration of the mountain ecosystems by engaging within your community in initiatives focused on conservation, by sharing the stories behind your mountain shots, and if you’re visiting some rural mountain communities, promoting their indigenous knowledge and their role in conserving the mountains’ biodiversity. You can also help by giving back to these communities part of the profits coming from the sale of prints of the shots taken.

Celebrate with us the extraordinary biodiversity of the mountains, download the Excio app free, and discover the stories behind the mountains shots of our community members.

A Remarkable Peak by Sarah Smith

"I lived with this mountain in my backyard for 15 years in Queenstown NZ. This image reminds me of the excitement and fear that can be found in adventure. Taken at 6.47am, it was one of the first and last photographs I took during the day. At this point in the journey, I was loving the light as the sun rose to illuminate Double Cone and Single Cone, it was great to be alive. Seeing the path I was about to take stretched out in front of me, evoked some trepidation but this traverse had been on my list for months. Today was the day, or so I thought. A few hours later, I found myself sliding down the Grand Couloir as I frantically tried to self-arrest. Eventually stopped by the rope I was attached to, I could no longer walk. A heli-vac off the mountain to hospital revealed that I had broken my ankle and would be in cast for 6 weeks. Dangerous and inspiring places those mountains."

Mountain Path by Paul Rea

"Two hikers move towards the peaks of Torres del Paine in Patagonia, Chile."

Seceda by Fred

"Seceda, one of the most beautiful and iconic locations in the Dolomites. Fujifilm X-T20 18-55mm f/11, 1/320"

Mount Taranaki by Manu

"It is the refelection image of Mount Taranaki, the photo taken at Pouakai reflective Tarn, Egmont National Park. And the image taken in Nikon D5600 with Tokina 11-16mm F/22 I 1.6sec I 11mm Iso 100."

Pangong Lake by Susan Blick

"At 4,350m Pangong Lake is one of the World's highest lakes. It's also a salt lake that was once part of an ocean that separated the Eurasian and Indian Tetonic plates. This pristine lake is in the very North of India and in fact marks the border between India and Tibet."

Shar Mountains - Macedonia by Ivan D

"I was on a hiking trip for a day on the beautiful and green Shar Mountains in Macedonia. Nature was magical and oh so green."

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