In honor of Earth Day 2011, a team of 20 trekkers participated in the Green Hiker-Green Planet trek through the Langtang area in Nepal’s Sacred Himalayan Landscape to increase awareness and encourage joint action on conservation, climate change advocacy and prepare for the increasing impacts of an erratic climate.
Organized by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and WWF, trekkers included representatives from the government of Nepal, civil society, and the media. They observed visible impacts from climate change and witnessed community initiatives to prepare for and adapt to these impacts, such as community seed banks, farmer schools and “water smart” initiatives. The trekkers also talked to locals about issues like eco-tourism, livelihoods, and species conservation.
A joint opportunity to further conservation
“We believe we should look more closely and widely for opportunities to collaborate on climate solutions in Nepal,” said Kevin Rushing, Mission Director of USAID/Nepal. “The Green Hiker- Green Planet campaign is a great opportunity to discuss how we can all work together as partners to address climate change and its effects.”
Nepal is among the world’s most vulnerable countries to global climate disruption and the once mighty Himalayas are bearing the brunt of it. Glaciers are retreating more rapidly than in any other time of recorded history, giving rise to high-mountain lakes on the brink of flooding and jeopardizing a vital source of freshwater for millions of people and their livelihoods.
“This trek gave us the opportunity to further the conversation on climate change impacts in Nepal and showcase some of the innovative adaptation approaches that are being embraced at the local level,” said Shubash Lohani, deputy director of WWF’s Eastern Himalayas program. “We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this global issue and WWF remains committed to working together with dedicated partners like USAID to deliver real results on the ground where it matters most.”
Decades of experience in the region
WWF has worked in Nepal since the late 1960s, when it began efforts to help the government save the greater one-horned rhino and Bengal tiger. Since then, WWF’s mission has expanded to include the protection of large landscapes such as the Terai Arc and Sacred Himalayas.
With decades of development efforts in Nepal, USAID has had a long history of successful and cutting-edge environmental programs in Nepal, including its work with community forest user groups to support environmental governance, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable livelihoods.