International Mountain Day

Here in Switzerland, we know how good we have it. So good that sometimes we don’t want to change a thing.

And in some cases, that works out for us. In others, there’s some work to be done. This year, the United Nations is calling for the restoration of our world’s mountain ecosystems. Now while we Swiss could talk about our mountains until the cows come home, we’ve narrowed down some key takeaways on how you can help protect the biodiversity that winds through mountain ranges across the globe.

Reducing our carbon footprint is a great overall aim, however, we shouldn’t forget to watch our steps on our hikes too. There are over 311 million people who live in rural mountainous areas in developing countries. Marked paths help protect indigenous plants that carpet mountain slopes and may sustain local communities, so rather than heading off the beaten track, be a part of the solution by staying on it.

The same attentiveness goes for our plastic use. We would quite like to avoid making mountains out of microplastics, so why not set yourself the challenge of going plastic-free on your next outdoor adventure? Microplastics have made it all the way to the summit of Everest. Something as simple as bringing your own lunch in a reusable container could mean less single-use plastic making its way to the mountains and staying there.

Another important rule of thumb is to leave no trace. Take a leaf out of a digital native’s book and feel free to snap some selfies. The actual leaves, though, should stay put. And the rocks. Pebbles shaken out of shoes upon your return home will be forgiven, especially if you’re willing to pick up a couple of pieces of stray litter you may come across on the trail.

Finally, we’re not saying you need to dress to impress, however, we are all for you dressing to invest in a greener future. That can look like opting for durable, good-quality clothing and equipment or buying from companies committed to sustainability and reducing their impact. Mending a well-loved jumper or pair of shorts instead of just chucking them can go a long way too.

This isn’t to say that we have all the answers. But on this day, in particular, we’d like to offer up some ideas of small steps we can all take to make a difference. So, wherever you are in the world, remember that you don’t need to move mountains to create change, but it wouldn’t hurt to bear them in mind a bit more.