Lesson 12 Climate Change and Mountains

Hi Everyone: This link is to an excellent discussion of the catastrophic mass flow that descended the Ronti Gad, Rishiganga, and Dhauliganga valleys in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India on 7 Feb 2021.
New research links the deadly disaster in the Indian Himalayas to an avalanche of rock and ice. We hear about the new findings, revisit voices on the ground, and ask what can be learned from this as the climate warms.
This discussion made way more sense to me because of Mountains 101. This radio program covered many of the items discussed by David and Zac in lesson 12. Thank you to David and Zac for the excellent course and to Class Central for bringing it back to life for me.


It’s difficult to know what to say on climate change and mountains, as it is such a large area and frankly depressing to consider what terrible changes we are wracking on the world. This is a problem as it is easy to be overwhelmed and ignore it. The changes that have been made in the last decade or two to try to mitigate climate change seem inadequate. If anyone has read Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under the White Sky, you’ll know that many of the proposed geo-engineering ‘solutions’ have serious drawbacks.

The only way fundamental change seems possible is for everyone to severely limit consuming, change capitalism into a less profit oriented system and revolutionize how we think about work. A world with almost no flying, vegan diets and no shopping anyone?

Looking at stories over the past few days on climate change and mountains needs a strong heart. there’s climate change leading to unprecedented Rocky Mountain wildfires, mountain trees in Mexico struggling, climate change and melting glaciers having widely varied impacts on Asian water supplies, ‘Glacier Blood’ on the French Alps, Pine Island’s glacier ripping itself apart, ‘black carbon’ speeding up of glacier melt in Nepal, the death of the last land glaciers in Mexico, the extreme droughts in Sierra Nevada where snow is near depleted and other areas of SW America…and unfortunately this list just from the last week could go on.

The question is, what would you do to change to a better way for our, and the mountains, future?


Exactly! I also find it depressing to even think about climate change, as it is such a difficult problem to solve, and as an individual you have so little power.

Now that I have finished the Mountains 101 course, I know a bit more about glaciers and the fragile mountain environments so all those news headlines about climate change will mean more to me, but there is still not a lot we can do about it as individuals, unless the big companies are also on board, which most of them are certainly not.

As you say, the automatic reaction is to feel overwhelmed and ignore it :frowning:


The current heat wave in Western Canada and NW USA is disturbing, but also part of how climate is changing rapidly. I hope that all of you who live in the area can stay safe. I read that yesterday temperatures in BC equalled Las Vegas’ highest recorded temperature.
This shows how much higher temperatures are than normal.

Obviously, there must also be concern for the mountains as the rate of snowmelt seems to be excessive and could cause a lot of flooding.

Stay safe.


I just logged on here to share the same news story but you had already done so. Bad news in terms of climate change and melting glaciers :frowning:


Hi @Kristina - yes, this is a horrific situation, and not just in Lytton BC. Unfortunately just a prelude to what we should expect for the rest of this summer and in the future. Stay safe wherever you are. Greta Thunberg pretty much summed up the current state of play a few days ago - https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1411017496212168706