A recently released report by the US Geological Survey on the state of glacier retreat in the Himalayan mountains due to global warming cited diminished water supplies to millions of people along with added sea level rise, and increased likelihood of outburst floods from sources such as glacial lakes.
Of particular concern to the 39 scientists involved in the study is the accelerating melt of fresh water sources in the Himalayas. Working to raise further awareness of such global warming impacts is British explorer and swimmer Mr. Lewis Gordon Pugh, who, in May 2010, braved dangerous freezing temperatures and oxygen-depleted high altitudes in a symbolic one-kilometer swim across a lake at the base of Mount Everest, which itself has formed as a result of global warming.
Lewis Gordon Pugh – British explorer and swimmer raising awareness on climate change (M): This swim was one of the hardest swims I’ve ever done, because you’ve got to get a fine balance. If you go slowly where you’re just wearing a Speedo, you’re going to freeze to death. But, if you go too quickly, up there at 5,300 meters, it is very, very difficult to breathe.
What I was trying to do about this swim was to link damaging the environment and having conflict on this Earth. Imagine if you are a farmer, and you live at the bottom of the Ganges River, and you have less and less water.
And that water which you are getting is polluted and toxic, then you are going to be very, very angry. We need to protect our water supplies, because we cannot live on this Earth without good, clean water.
VOICE: Wearing no protective gear, Mr. Pugh had previously conducted a similar activity at the North Pole – a place that without global warming would have been covered by ice. His deep concern in raising awareness of these sites most jeopardized by climate change has allowed him to meet with world leaders to discuss solutions.
Lewis Gordon Pugh (M): For me, I am so passionate about trying to draw attention to what is happening, and the speed at which it is happening, as I will do anything to draw attention to this issue. If we are not able to stop climate change, there is no future. I think the most important thing that we need to do right now is to believe that we can stop climate change. Before I start with any expedition, I’ve got to believe I can do it. And that is the most important thing.
VOICE: Our salute and admiration Mr. Pugh for your determination, care and very courageous actions to hasten our actions to halt climate change. May leaders and citizens alike each do our part to save the planet.
In a video message for a June 2009 climate change conference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai described the urgency of glacial melt worldwide while at the same time addressing the most effective solution.