You read about climate change, you hear about glacial retreat. But it is not until you get up in the air that you get to see for yourself how real it is.
Not long ago, I had the chance to get up on Tara Air's brand new Pilatus Porter with a Danish TV crew to take a one-hour flight from Lukla overflying the Upper Khumbu. I wanted to share with you some of the pictures from that vantage point:
1. Climbing up past Namche I got this extraordinary view of the Phunki Glacier which you don't notice from the Everest trail because of foreshortening. The glacier has retreated so dramatically up Thamserku's northern flank that you don't even see it anymore, just the remains of the lateral moraines and the summit ice cap.
Last week, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed announced that his country would phase out HCFCs by 2020, ten years ahead of what is required of his country under the Montreal Protocol. HCFCs, used commonly in refrigerators and air conditioners, are ozone-depleting chemicals that are also highly potent greenhouse gases.
In his speech announcing the accelerated commitment, Nasheed thanked his predecessor President Gayoom for having taken the lead in climate change issues. It was an unusual gesture: a leader complimenting a bitter political rival who had imprisoned and tortured and hounded him into exile.
But everything about ‘Anni’, as Maldivians affectionately call their president, shows that he is probably the only leader in this part of the world who hasn’t let the trappings of office get to him.