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December 11th is International Mountain Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then get your butt outside because it's International Mountain Day!  Mountains need love too; a whole lot of love!  So, let's get right into celebrating International Mountain Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?
Well, there have been many different Mountain Days, since the late 1800s, but back in 2001 the United Nations decided to make 2002 the International Year of Mountains. And that really increased the awareness of the importance of mountains, all across the globe. In fact, there were 78 different nations that set up committees and the International Partnership for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions AKA the Mountain Partnership. So, with a success like that, the UN decided that International Mountain Day would start up the very next year on this day, and it's been that way ever since!  Why today? Because this is the day, in 2001, when they "launched" the International Year of Mountains, at the UN headquarters in New York. There were about 100 people at that gathering, but that was the day that got the whole mountain ball rolling. So, it makes a little more sense now, right? But to a lot of people, they don't really think much about mountains... they're just there, right? But, if you live in the East, head to the Mid-West and tell me that the Rocky Mountains don't look like a surreal backdrop... it almost looks fake! And if you live out West, then come out to the East coast and stand in awe of all the green mountains.  But they're not just there for looks; they provide homes for many animals and they affect the climate. All those trees, scattered across the mountains, suck up all the carbon dioxide they can manage and kick us back some oxygen in exchange. And they collect snow all winter, because it's colder up top there, and then, as spring and summer comes, it melts and the water runs down into the valleys for plants, animals and us to partake of. They sound a little more important now, don't they?  I thought they might.

HOW TO CELEBRATE 
So, how can you celebrate today?  Well, the easiest way would be to just get out in the mountains, so that you can really appreciate them. Looking at them from afar is like looking at the moon and acting like you know what goes on there. Get out in the mountains, see what kind of animals live there, experience the different climates as you get higher and higher up the mountainside and enjoy the fresh air. And when you reach the top of a mountain, you might realize why people often put a "great" in front of outdoors... not only is nature and the mountain you're standing on great, as in wonderful, but they are also great, as in freaking huge!  But you can also check out the official International Mountain Day site, to see what this year's theme is, the information products they provide, what they did in the past years and even activities that are being done to ensure that we are sustainably managing the mountains around us. There is a TON of information on their site, and it might even help sparks some ideas for you on which mountains you'd like to visit today. And who knows, you might even want to lend a hand and start helping the cause yourself!  But do you consider yourself hardcore? Well, then why don't you set out to hike the highest mountain in your state today? Sure, some states don't really have any mountains but, for some of you, that would be quite a challenge. It's December, it's probably snowy up there, and it might take you more than one day but, once you got to the top, I think you'd really appreciate mountains a lot more, even if you swore at the mountain as you struggled to get up it! Yes, if you take me up on this challenge, you can be "King of the Mountain" for a day.  Have a great day and enjoy the mountains!





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