Risan Media to present at UVU Fourth Annual United Nations International Mountain Day

Risan Media's Todd Anders Johnson

Celebrating Diversity in Climate Science and Glacier Mountain Environments

Risan Media’s Todd Anders Johnson will present at the fourth annual celebration of United Nations International Mountain Day at Utah Valley University. Johnson will be introduced by Lauren Anderson, President of the American Israeli Alliance, and then begin his video discussion entitled Celebrating diversity in climate science and glacier mountain environments. The presentation starts at 6:45pm on Dec. 6th, 2013, but don’t miss the many other scheduled speakers and events.

About the UVU International Mountain Day Celebration

Over several days in December, Utah Valley University will hold its fourth celebration of United Nations International Mountain Day by hosting a regional gathering of several institutions from North America under the auspice of Vertex, a nongovernmental organization from Aspen, Colo. The event is free and open to the public.

The activities will begin at the UVU Library auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 with greetings and welcoming addresses from Mark Petersen, Utah International Mountain Forum vice president; Rusty Butler, UVU Mountain Partnership coordinator and associate vice president for International Affairs & Diplomacy; and Karinjo Devore, founder of the Aspen International Mountain Foundation. The program will include a Native American cultural performance and a violin master class presented via Skype by the Gruppman International Music Institute, a Mountain Partnership member.

“UVU students are proud to host International Mountain Day celebrations with so many VIP guests in attendance,” Peterson said. “This gathering represents one more great step for us in strengthening the community engaged learning approach on an international level, which helps our professional growth and future careers and gives more recognition to UVU globally.”

On Dec. 6, the plenary meeting will be held in the UVU Science Building auditorium from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Andrew Taber, executive director of the Mountain Institute and Karinjo DeVore, who is also a co-director of Vertex will lead participants in a discussion on the importance of sustainable mountain development as an essential part of the U.N. Sustainable Development agenda in 2015 when Millennium Development Goals will expire. The program will include a tribute to the late scholar and international mountain advocate Jane Pratt, a member of the organizing committee for the International Women of the Mountains conferences UVU regularly hosts.

The events will culminate with the celebration of International Mountain Day in the UVU Science Building auditorium on Dec.11. At 6:30 p.m., prominent Utah ophthalmologist-surgeon and mountaineer Geoff Tabin will present a lecture, “Impossible Dreams: Everest and Eradicating World Blindness.” The lecture will be followed by the signing of his book, co-authored with Sanduk Ruit, “Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives,” which chronicles the Himalayan Cataract Project, dedicated to establishing sustainable eye care infrastructure in the Himalayas.

“At this time we continue the established tradition of hosting the International Mountain Day by the Utah International Mountain Forum, a coalition of student clubs at UVU,” Butler said. “Our students achieved a number of successes by contributing to the activities of several U.N.-related forums with focus on mountain agenda during 2013.”

Vertex is a coordinator of activities for the North American, Central American and Caribbean regions for the United Nations-affiliated Mountain Partnership, which globally promotes the U.N. Sustainable Development agenda.

The complete agenda and further information about the events may be found at womenofthemountains.org, under “2013 Events.”

About United Nations International Mountain Day

“Mountains – Key to a Sustainable Future”

International Mountain Day is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands.

Mountains are crucial to life. Whether we live at sea level or the highest elevations, we are connected to mountains and affected by them in more ways than we can imagine. Mountains provide most of the world’s freshwater, harbour a rich variety of plants and animals, and are home to one in ten people. Yet, each day, environmental degradation, the consequences of climate change, exploitative mining, armed conflict, poverty and hunger threaten the extraordinary web of life that the mountains support.

This year,  the theme for IMD will be “Mountains – Key to a Sustainable Future.” The focus will be on celebrating how mountains are crucial in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth in the context of poverty eradication, and on drawing attention to their generally sustainable and low-emission production models. We believe this theme will help in raising awareness on how new opportunities can bring benefits to highland and lowland communities without contributing to the degradation of mountain socio-ecosystems. In particular, within the follow-up to Rio +20 and the ongoing process on sustainable development goals, we would like to continue underlining how the goods and services deriving from mountain regions are essential for sustainable development.

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