The Mountain Institute takes one step at a time
In 1972, a small organization in West Virginia got its feet wet by providing experiential and leadership education on the slopes of Spruce Knob, a 400-acre nature preserve. Close to 40 years later, with an international head quarter in Washington DC, and regional offices in China, Nepal, India, and Peru, The Mountain Institute (TMI) has over 55 staff who work on programs directly with mountain communities, reaching over 250 million people per year.
TMI notes that “The mountain world is changing faster than any of us could have ever imagined. Glaciers are melting, new dangerous glacier lakes are forming, crops are being affected by unpredictable weather patterns, and future water supplies are uncertain.”
According to a UN Sustainable Mountain Development Report, mountains are a critical life source for humankind, providing half of our population with water for drinking and agriculture. As a result of climate change, the strong and majestic mountain ranges and ecosystems are in precarious conditions and among the first to be affected by unprecedented change.
Mountain communities around the world have already started to experience significant challenges and have to find ways to adjust and adapt to climate change affects.
Enter TMI. The organization addresses this challenge through education, conservation and sustainable development in the key mountain ranges of the world – the Andes, the Appalachians and the Himalaya. Their mission is to “ensures that mountains will continue to provide the essential resources - natural, cultural and inspirational -- needed for mankind's survival on a healthy planet.”
From the Tibet plateau development program to programs that preserve culture through interpretive materials, to youth development in national parks, Appalachian watersheds and stream monitors, climate awareness, wind development, and food for enterprise, TMI programs are extensive yet focused. The website does a great job of listing the program areas, work and impact achieved. Check it out for full details: http://www.mountain.org/what-we-do