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 2013 Hilary Medal Awarded


12 August 2013

Professor of economics, and conservationist, and mountaineer Dr. Harshwanti Bisht has been selected to receive the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal. According to Dr. Beau Beza, Program Director in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the award is presented "for remarkable service in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions. The medal both recognizes Sir Edmund Hillary's own service on behalf of mountain people and their environment and also encourages the continuing emulation of his example."

For 25 years, since 1989, Dr. Bisht has labored to improve conditions in the Gangotri area of Uttarakhand, at the headwaters of the Ganges in northern India. Her Save Gangotri project has planted tens of thousands of saplings, organized eco-awareness campaigns, propagated endangered medicinal herbs, and introduced ecotourism standards to an area that had been ravaged by climate change and unregulated pilgrimage.

Bisht has had remarkable success in restoring the birch forests around Gau Mukh (Cow Snout), the terminal area of Gangotri Glacier, ravaged by the double-whammy of unmanaged pilgrimage and mass-market tourism as well as climatic change. As the forests take hold, they have an increasingly significant impact in increasing humidity and lowering local temperatures.

Dr. Bisht is showing that the action of a committed woman can make a difference against forces that seem irresistible. In this case, Dr. Bisht and her colleagues are reforesting the ancient birch stands alongside Gangotri glacier, creating a slightly cooler microclimate that Dr. Bisht hopes will slow the glacier's recession. Like all new grassroots efforts, it sounds quixotic, but it is not. If we don't pitch in and help, our loss will be incalculable.

See full announcement and article here: www.hillarymedal.com/medal2013.html
 

 

 

 

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