Mountain Environments, People & Cultures
December, 2017

A year full of progress and awards.

As we look back over this past month, and all of 2017, we see real progress for mountain regions facing the daunting challenges of climate change. Our partnerships with mountain communities have led to innovative, practical, and sustainable solutions that combine the latest science with traditional knowledge. Here are a few highlights:

Fructuosa Cruz examines river water polluted by heavy metals near the village of Canrey Chico, Peru. © S. Tegel

Our December 6th  op-ed in The Washington Post  called attention to the unexpected and often devastating effects of climate change in the Peruvian Andes. It featured solutions developed by indigenous communities working as partners with scientists from The Mountain Institute. These mountain people can teach us how to prepare for a future without glaciers. 

Written by TMI Andes Program Director, Dr. Jorge Recharte, the article  addresses how mountain communities are scrambling to find ways of adjusting to a new reality. Two of our initiatives are profiled: the  Ancestral Technologies and Climate Change Initiative in Canchayllo and Miraflores, Peru plus our  bioremediation project in Canrey Chico districtAncestral Technologies won the 2017 Solution Search "Farming for Biodiversity" Prize in the category of "Water Impact"  plus a regional award for ecosystem-based adaptation practices.  

In the video link below, Canrey Chico villagers explain how the nearby Rio Negro became polluted and show their  water purification solution :

TMI Senior Fellow Wins Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal

Dr. Meeta Pradhan,  TMI Himalayan Program Director, offers  congratulations  to Dr. Johan Reinhard on behalf of the entire Institute.

The Mountain Institute is celebrating a much-deserved honor for one of our Senior Fellows-- Dr. Johan Reinhard . Anthropologist and archaeologist,  Reinhard  was awarded the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal on December 11th (International Mountain Day) at a ceremony in Pokhara, Nepal. Reinhard was selected  for " remarkable service in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions ." His extraordinary discoveries in the Himalayas and Andes are a treasured legacy not only for indigenous mountain communities but for all of us who care deeply about the world's mountain areas. Reinhard's dedication and deep interest in understanding and preserving mountain cultures have inspired many and continue to guide modern stewardship of mountain environments.
We are so proud that another mountain leader associated with our Institute has won this prestigious medal! Like Hillary medalists Ang Rita Sherpa and Dr. Alton Byers before him, we consider Dr. Reinhard as more than an Institute Senior Fellow:  he is a true mountain-hero-in-residence.

Páramo Conservation and Innovation Platform Wins
"2017 Cultura del Agua" Award

Community leader receiving the Cultura del Agua award on behalf of Platform members.

The Ministry of Agriculture and National Water Authority (ANA) of Peru
recently recognized the  Páramo  Conservation and Innovation  Platform  as a national example of best practices in community-based conservation of water-regulating ecosystems. Páramo refers to the treeless, alpine plateau of the tropical Andes . Due to its soil type and vegetation, the páramo stores water during the rainy season like a sponge, slowly releasing water in the dry season. The Paramo Conservation and Innovation Platform was  developed as a result of The Mountain Institute's technical support. It started with just  three grassroots conservation groups in 2014 and has expanded to include 20 organizations in 2017.  These community groups used local, traditional knowledge to develop methods for cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants as an alternative to wild harvesting. They are creating plant-based products to boost sustainable livelihoods that, in turn, help conserve  the páramo ecosystem. The Platform has also expanded in its capacity to negotiate with watershed management agencies like ANA. Congrats to all Platform members, Fidel Torres and the rest of our TMI staff in the Piura region!


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Best wishes for a Happy New Year 
from our staff in the  Himalayas, Andes  and USA!

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