Over the past 12 months – I have to honest, I’ve watched a lot of TV. There’s not been much else to do.
In my last post I talked about Seaspiracy… now I’m talking about the Himalaya.
It’s been exactly 10 years since I returned back from my trip to Everest Base Camp.
My trip to the Himalayas – was one of the best experiences of my life. I met some of my closest friends, I got to share it with my parents, I experienced the more incredible Nepalese hospitality and saw the most beautiful scenery. I felt humbled. I still feel humbled when I think back to standing and looking up at the clear sky being dwarfed by these huge, majestic mountains.
I wasn’t overly conscious about the environment when I went out there, I wasn’t overly interested in minimalism or living sustainably. I was out there to trek to base camp and raise money for charity. I thought I was doing my part – I was putting myself through something tough and I was raising money to support a worthwhile cause. I felt good about myself because of it.
Someone said to me while I was out that Nepal was an acronym.
Nepal.. Never ending peace and love.
I credit Nepal to changing my view on the environment and the way that I approach and treat people. I didn’t know it back then, but on reflection, that place changed me in more ways than I realised.
I’ve been feeling so nostalgic. Quite possibly because we’ve been stuck inside of the past 12 months, but also because I can’t believe that 10 years have gone by.. it’s been a blur. So much life has been lived in that time.
Looking through old photos wasn’t quite cutting it for me though…it wasn’t fulfilling this ‘craving’ that I was having to relive my once in a lifetime experience. I’ve seen the movie Everest, it’s chilling. But that’s not what I wanted. I didn’t want to fear the mountain…
I wanted to feel that feeling of possibility… I wanted that feeling that Mount Everest instilled in you.. that feeling of conquering the world.
I then came across a programme called Everest: Death Zone.
It’s about a group of Nepalese climbers, clearing the rubbish from Mount Everest’s death zone.
(The Death Zone refers to altitudes above a certain point where the pressure of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for an extended time span. … An extended stay above 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) without supplementary oxygen will result in deterioration of bodily functions and death.)
I remember being out there and being told that I had to clear every single piece of rubbish that I made. I had to put it back in my backpack and it was our responsibility as climbers to make sure that we kept the Himalaya clean. Mount Everest was a sacred and special place and we had to respect it. So, for me… seeing a programme that was made about specifically cleaning Mount Everest, was certainly something that caught my interest.
The commercialisation of Everest meant that the mountain was no longer a sacred and beautiful but instead an overcrowded business that created tonnes of rubbish as a byproduct.
I watched in awe as a group of twenty Sherpa risked their lives to clean The Death Zone – removing camping gas cannisters, oxygen cylinders, food wrappers, shredded tents and even bringing down two dead bodies. Their reason was simple – restoring their sacred mountain and the contaminated water supply of 1.3 billion people.
The cleared 4000 pounds of garbage. That’s insane. They carried that down.. from the mountain and through the Khumbu ice fall. The danger that these people were putting them through… I take my hat off to them.
I was transfixed watching this self-made documentary, the Sherpa were recording everything that they were doing using personal video cameras – that’s how little care was given for cleaning the mountain.. no film crew… For me, this mission to clean the mountain felt incredibly personal. This wasn’t about prestige, recognition – this was about preserving what has been given to us to take care of, rather than taking advantage of it.
I felt in some way that this documentary was a message that extended beyond the Himalayas and Mount Everest. It was a simple plea to take care of your part of the world… maintaining and preserving for the future.
Where I live, they’ve started a rubbish cleaning group. The Wombles of Spalding.. I think it’s time to join.