International Mountain Day and its Significance

OV Digital Desk
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International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day is observed every year on 11 December | Image Source:

International Mountain Day is observed every year on 11 December. As the name suggests, the day is observed to encourage the suitability of habitats in mountainous regions. Further, it highlights the importance of sustainable development of in mountains. The Day is observed from 2003 onwards.

Secretary-General António Guterres in his message highlighted the importance of mountain and its association with our life and well-being.

Mountains must move to the centre of our attention – and it is time to move mountains to secure the changes we need to secure the health of our planet and to build a sustainable future for all.

The International Mountain Day is a day to raise awareness about the importance of protecting mountain biodiversity, as these fragile ecosystems are facing increasing pressures due to climate change, overgrazing, and pollution.


Other similar observations

In addition to observance for International Mountain Day, there are many other days which are similar and thematic to the cause. World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June, while World Water Day is observed on 22 March. Other thematic days are World Wildlife Day and International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples which are observed on 3 March and 9 August, respectively.

Theme for International Mountain Day 2021

International Mountain Day aims to ensure suitability in fragile area of mountains and ensure the community living in are remain safe. Theme for International Mountain Day 2021 is “sustainable mountain tourism.” Sustainable mountain tourism is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day. Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation. Every year has different theme to address the relevant cause. The theme of International Mountain Day 2010 was “Mountain minorities and indigenous peoples.” This event raises awareness about indigenous peoples and minorities who live in mountainous regions and the relevance of their cultural heritage, traditions, and customs.

Message from Various Organisations

The ministry of Tourism, in his message, conveyed the importance of sustainable mountain tourism. The ministry remarked, “Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation”.


The United Nations conveyed the importance of mountains and its vulnerability due to climate crisis. The organisation conveyed, “Mountains cover more than 25% of the earth’s land surface and are home to over 1 billion people. Yet, they are increasingly under threat due to the climate crisis.”

  • Mountains host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and 30% of all Key Biodiversity Areas.
  • More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life.
  • Mountains provide home for more than 1 billion people.
  • Forests cover around 40 % of global mountain area
  • Of the 20 plant species that supply 80% of the world’s food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, and apples.

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History of International Mountain Day


The first Mountain Day was in 1838, when Mount Holyoke College students went to Mount Holyoke. Smith College celebrated its Mountain Day in 1877. Juniata College started Mountain Day in 1896, and Williams College students have been climbing Mount Greylock since the 1800s to celebrate Mountain Day. Mountain Day is said to have started at Colby-Sawyer College in the 1850s, but the first mention of it in the student newspaper isn’t until June 1893. Mountain Day was started by Elmira College in 1918.

Hollins University has a similar tradition called Tinker Day, where people wear costumes and hike Tinker Mountain.

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 11 as “International Mountain Day” in 2003. On that day, the General Assembly “encouraged the international community to emphasize the importance of sustainable mountain development.”

Some quotes about Mountains

Here are some quotes. If you wish to send someone, just pick one, two or all.

  • “The mountain remains unmoved at seeming defeat by the mist.” Rabindranath Tagore.
  • “Over every mountain, there is a pass, although it may not be seen from the valley”
  • “Mountains teach that not everything in this world can be rationally explained.” Aleksander Lwow
  • “‘I like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.’” Mark Obmascik
  • “Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” David McCullough Jr.
  • “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you.” John Muir
  • “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” Ed Viesturs
  • “When life gives you, mountains put on your boots and hike.”
  • “The climb speaks to our character, but the view, I think, to our souls.” Lori Lansens
  • “The top of one mountain is always the bottom of another.” Marianne Williamson
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