AYCC Climb it for Climate: Chapter 4 // MULTIMEDIA

FEBRUARY 2, 2015: Fifteen young volunteers from The Australian Youth Climate Coalition departed for the Nepalese Himalaya, where they will made a two week journey to the base of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain.

Over two weeks, the group trekked through forests, over ridges and across glaciers to Everest Base Camp, witnessing first hand the devastating effects a changing climate is having on the Himalaya. Accompanying the young climate activists was a guide from the Himalayan Climate Initiative, a sister organisation to AYCC, who will show the young Australians how the landscape and people of the mountains are being affected by a changing climate.

For months before leaving, the trekkers worked hard to raise money from sponsors in their local community to support the action of both AYCC and the Himalayan Climate Initiative. Both organisations work to promote positive action on climate change, and believe in empowering young people to make positive change in the world. Each trekker has been tasked with raising $4000, and each has taken their own approach to gathering the funds. At the same time, the group had to train up to prepare for the rigours of the rugged, high altitude trail to Everest. Reaching heights of over 5000m above sea level, the group were presented with harsh physical challenges on the rugged track to Everest.

This series of videos follows AYCC's volunteers to Nepal and through the Himalaya, tracking their journey as well as exploring the effects of climate change on the world's largest mountains. The trekkers will move on foot through the mountains and hear from the people of the Everest region. As their journey progresses, the videos will also explore the science of climate change in the Himalaya, featuring interviews with some of the world's leading climate researchers who have spent years exploring and studying the world's highest peaks.

Mountain environments all over the world, especially the Himalaya, are coming under new stresses and strains as climate change increases temperatures and shifts weather patterns across the globe. One of the leading scientists studying the world’s fast-changing mountain environments is Professor Paul Mayewski, the Director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. In his forty-year career, Professor Mayewski has made first ascents of many Himalayan peaks and led expeditions to remote areas of Antarctica and the Andes in the search of precious ice cores. These records have provided extensive and robust information on the health of the world’s mountain environments, and in particular their glaciers.

Professor Mayewski was interviewed in his home in Maine, USA, for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, on the health of the mountain environment and glaciers in the Himalaya. He says the delicate environment that AYCC’s volunteers have been trekking through is coming under increasing pressure from rising temperatures and changing weather patterns, and the people of the region are likely to experience great challenges as the environment around them is transformed by a changing climate.