Nepal’s Cabinet sat down earlier this week in an unconventional office- they called their meeting to order in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain- Everest. Arriving by helicopter, the cabinet members wore oxygen masks for the thin air and heavy winter clothing for the below-freezing temperatures. They met near the Mount Everest base camp Kalapathar, at 5,242 meters (17,200 feet) above sea level, which can be seen as a symbolic gesture of how far we have to go and how much must still be done to deal with climate change. In the mainstream version of the Monkeywrench Gang and Greenpeace spirit, national governments have been utilizing public relations-friendly, high profile meetings to emphasize to the world the importance of the Copenhagen Summit.
We are seeing this kind of PR-friendly technique all over the world- the Maldives had a similar attention-grabbing underwater Cabinet meeting, and the 350.org movement tried to bring attention to the Copenhagen summit by prompting people around the world to create their own climate change awareness event, take photos and videos, and get the media and the message out there.
Nepal is responsible for 0.025% of global greenhouse gas emissions- they feel the effects of climate change, however, to a much higher degree.
Climate change is creating dangerous weather conditions, like floods from melting glaciers, changes in the rain and dry season cycles, and increasing forest fires. Looking into the future, if glacial melt continues and accelerates over the next century, some or all of the 10 major Asian rivers fed by Himalayan glaciers. In Sanskrit Himalaya means House (Him) of snow (alaya).
“We are being punished for the crime we never committed. Developed countries must help check the effects of global warming on the Himalayas,” said Nepal Forest Minister Deepak Bohara.
Whether punishment for transgressions, a challenge for the modern era, or the simple result of cause and effect, climate change is taking up an unwelcome residence in the House of Snow.