Humans are drawn to the mountains like moths to a flame. We want to climb them, camp in their meadows, and fish in their trickling streams. We forage for their fungal and green delights and sit in silence to better see the animals that make them their home. Some will even risk their lives to summit the most extreme elevations. I particularly like John Muir’s suggestion in his famous quote,People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! "Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' ... Now, these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them."
Today, December 11, is the United Nations International Mountain Day with this year’s theme Mountains Matter for Youth. They want to bring awareness to the importance of mountains in the ecosystem and the challenges that exist for youth that are born in mountain communities. These young people tend to leave their places of origin in search of better opportunities leaving abandoned agriculture and risking the loss of important cultural tradition. This year’s emphasis is on providing access to training, employment, and market access so that these young people can both thrive and continue to be a part of their communities.