Be A Mountain Hero: IOC releases 10 steps that individuals can take to help protect mountains


December 14, 2021

Ahead of International Mountain Day, 11 December 2021, the IOC’s Mountain Summit group – in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – has launched a simple, 10-step checklist for those who wish to help protect mountains for future generations.

Mountains are home to 13 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of biodiversity on land. More than half the world’s population benefits in some way from the resources they provide, such as clean air, water, food and energy. In addition, they are the source of unique nature, rich local cultures, and endless opportunities for sport enthusiasts.

And yet, mountain environments globally are under threat. The climate crisis is leading to shrinking glaciers and reducing snow fall, while loss of wildlife, erosion and pollution are affecting mountain ecosystems.

Titled “Be A Mountain Hero”, the 10 steps cover tips on the most sustainable choices that individuals can make before, during and after a mountain excursion. They include actions such as opting for sustainable equipment, choosing “conscious travel” over more carbon-intense modes of transport, sticking to marked routes to protect wildlife, and speaking up for mountains within their local communities.

The checklist will be distributed widely across International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, mountain resorts, event organisers, tourist agencies and other organisations engaged in mountain sports.

If we want to continue enjoying the sports we love, we must all play our part in safeguarding the natural environments that they so strongly depend on,” said Marie Sallois, IOC Director for Sustainability. “These 10 steps provide those involved in mountain sports with simple and practical advice on how to protect the fragile mountain environments. This work is part of our efforts to guide and inspire the Olympic Movement – and the broader sports community – to make sport more sustainable. We are delighted to have worked closely with UNEP for the production of this guide.

Mountains are marked by climate change, nature loss and pollution. It is time to act and protect what we love. We need to create more sustainable tourism to halt, prevent and reverse the degradation of these fragile ecosystems,” said Matthias Jurek, UNEP Programme Officer.

The Mountain Summit Group was launched by the IOC on World Mountain Day 2019. It brings together sports organisations concerned with the current state of the world’s mountains. The group currently includes 12 members, with the aim of assessing and minimising sport’s negative impact on mountain environments, and raising awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving them.

The 10 steps have been produced in collaboration with UNEP, which also aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting mountain environments by engaging sport athletes dedicated to the cause, like Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja.

The IOC’s work on mountains is part of the organisation’s broader commitment to sustainability.

The IOC has also joined the UN Clean Seas campaign to tackle plastic pollution and taken a leadership role in the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

To download the 10 steps, click here

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