Delicate Equilibrium

Bakarwal tribal families with their belongings migrate for the summer from the Jammu plains to the hills of Doda district, 200 km from Jammu, in Jammu and Kashmir, on May 8, 2009. The tribe inhabits the Himalayas and the Pir-Panjal ranges and take their sheep high into the mountains, above the tree-line to graze in meadows, during the summer months. AFP PHOTO/STR / AFP PHOTO / STR

The International Mountain Day was celebrated under the theme of ‘Restoring Mountain Ecosystems’ this year. Alongside the rest of the world, functions were held in Kashmir valley on Monday to commemorate the day to ‘increase awareness about the relevance of mountain ecosystems and call for nature-based solutions, best practices and investments that build resilience, reduce vulnerability and increase the ability of mountains to adapt to daily threats and extreme climatic events’. Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change, overexploitation and contamination, increasing the risks for the people and the planet. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain glaciers melt affecting freshwater supplies downstream, and mountain people — some of the world’s poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. Steep slopes mean the clearing of forest for farming, settlements or infrastructure can cause soil erosion as well as the loss of habitat. Erosion and pollution harm the quality of water flowing downstream and the productivity of soil. In fact, over 311 million rural mountain people in developing countries live in areas exposed to progressive land degradation, 178 million of whom are considered vulnerable to food insecurity. The International Mountain Day is an opportunity for reflection, a pause to consider the delicate equilibrium between human activities and the preservation of these natural wonders. The rivers – Jhelum, Chenab, Lidder, and more – trace their origins to the melting snow and glaciers of these mountains. The celebration of International Mountain Day is a collective plea for sustainable practices, an acknowledgment that the conservation of these vital water sources is paramount for the entire ecosystem to thrive. Economically, the mountains are not just geographical features; they are a source of livelihood for many in Kashmir. Traditional practices like horticulture and floriculture find fertile ground on the mountainsides. As International Mountain Day dawns, it becomes a moment to recognize the toil of the farmers cultivating the land on the slopes, contributing to the sustenance of the entire region. Tourism, a significant economic driver for Kashmir, is intricately connected to the allure of its mountains. The snow-clad peaks beckon visitors worldwide and provide opportunities for adventure sports. As International Mountain Day is observed, it becomes an occasion to promote responsible tourism and conservation efforts, ensuring that the influx of visitors does not compromise the delicate ecological balance of the region. Yet, amidst the grandeur and celebration, challenges loom. Climate change poses a significant threat to mountain ecosystems globally, and Kashmir is not immune. Rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas have tangible impacts on the region. International Mountain Day becomes a rallying cry, urging the community to adopt sustainable practices and work collectively to mitigate the effects of climate change on the mountains. Moreover, the International Mountain Day in Kashmir transcends a mere recognition of geographical features. The mountains of Kashmir have always remained a source of inspiration for artists, poets and writers. The mountains have fueled the creative spirit for centuries and will continue to do so in the futur

Share This Article
Avatar of
A Newspaper company in Kashmir
Leave a comment