Mountains—Who Will Save Them?
FOR four days in 2002, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan (central Asia) hosted the Global Mountain Summit. It was the first international meeting dedicated to mountain issues. The sponsors hoped that 2002 would mark “the beginning of a new era, one that recognizes the true value of mountains.”
The summit unanimously adopted the “Bishkek Mountain Platform,” containing guidelines for everyone concerned with mountain conservation. Its stated goal was to “improve the livelihoods of mountain people, to protect mountain ecosystems and to use mountain resources more wisely.”
Some progress has been made. A worldwide network of national parks protects areas of outstanding beauty and biodiversity. In many parts of the globe, conservation groups have had some success in holding back the tide of environmental devastation. One initiative stemming from the Mountain Summit in Bishkek was a firm commitment to clean up nuclear waste dumped in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. This highly toxic material threatened the water supply of 20 percent of the people in central Asia.
Still, the difficulties involved in protecting the world’s mountains remain formidable. For example, in 1995, Canadian authorities introduced a “Forest Practices Code” to protect the remaining rain forest of British Columbia. Yet, a subsequent investigation revealed that logging companies generally disregarded the code and continued to clear-cut the trees of even the steepest slopes. The code was relaxed in 1997, since the timber industry claimed it was too burdensome.
Commercial interests are not the only obstacle. The final declaration of the Bishkek Summit recognized that war, poverty, and hunger all contribute to the implacable erosion of mountain ecosystems. The mountains, along with the rest of the planet, will keep on suffering until all these underlying causes of habitat destruction come to an end.
God’s Concern for His Creation
Despite this depressing picture, we have reason for optimism. Almighty God is not oblivious to what happens to his creation. The Bible describes him as the One “to whom the peaks of the mountains belong.” (Psalm 95:4) He also cares about the fauna of the mountains. According to Psalm 50:10, 11, Jehovah says: “To me belongs every wild animal of the forest, the beasts upon a thousand mountains. I well know every winged creature of the mountains, and the animal throngs of the open field are with me.”
Does God have a way to save the world’s beleaguered environment? Yes, he does! The Bible says that he has “set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin.” (Daniel 2:44) Jesus Christ, the appointed Ruler of this heavenly government, has a special interest in the earth and the people who live on it. (Proverbs 8:31) His rule will establish peace on the earth, will end all exploitation, and will repair the damage that has been done to the planet.—Revelation 11:18.
If you long for such a solution, you will doubtless continue to pray that ‘God’s kingdom come.’ (Matthew 6:9, 10) Such prayers will not go unanswered. God’s Kingdom will soon bring an end to injustice and correct the damage to the planet. When this happens, figuratively the very mountains will “cry out joyfully.”—Psalm 98:8.