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Protection of the mountain environment has always been an important issue for the UIAA. In the early years, our members protested against the construction of cable cars and railroads in the Alps. Later the focus turned to the problem of visitors leaving behind rubbish in the mountains, pollution from tourist flights and the use of helicopters to access remote areas. Now we must look wider. The causes of damage are not local anymore. Private car use in the USA or China can affect how the world’s mountains will look in the future. Human made climate change is not only making the weather unpredictable, it is changing geography by melting glaciers and creating new lakes.
In this section you can read about what the UIAA does to protect the environment. You can find our guidelines and advice to climbers and mountaineers and you can read about climate change and its effect on glaciers and snowfields. You can find out how you can support sustainable development in the mountains and follow links to environmental organisations.
An important job for the UIAA is to educate our members and the public on how to protect the mountain environment. Mountain protection is not just a separate section of our organisation, we try to include the environmental perspective in all our activities. Whether you attend a course for voluntary leaders or read our advice about expeditions, you should always learn how you can protect nature.
Experiencing the beauty of nature is an essential part of mountaineering, and therefore we must do our part to keep the mountains beautiful. When the UIAA and our members organise competitions, youth camps or expeditions we must always do our best to minimise the impact we have on the environment. We recycle rubbish and take it with us when we leave the mountain, we don’t pollute water sources where we camp and we organise transport which minimise pollution. That is what we call responsible access.
Eco Everest Expedition 2008
The Mountain Protection Commission is the UIAA body responsible for global environmental issues. Learn more...
The UIAA Environmental objectives and guidelines
Dawa Stephen Annexe
Dawa Stephen Report