Human endurance and passion never fail to amaze me. We surprise ourselves each day with our strength, ingenuity and camaraderie. Here is another story which reminds us of the creativity and reslience in the face of great challenges. Wasfia Nazreen, a young Bangladeshi woman has taken it upon herself to scale seven mountains across the seven continents of the world. Starting July 2011, she has begun her journey spanning the world and scaling some of the tallest peaks in the world like Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Elbrus in Europe. Her efforts will move right through 2012 with tall peaks like Mount Everest, McKinley and a few others in sight.
What made her take up this exciting and dangerous feat ? Wasfia, a rights activist and a development practitioner notes, “As we mark 40 years of Bangladesh’s independence this year, I hope these climbs will highlight the resilience of the Bangladeshi peoples, who continue to adapt, confront and tenaciously survive, instead of being mere passive victims of natural disasters. I want the world to listen to Bangladesh, and hear her brave stories across the heights of Kilimanjaro to Denali, Aconcagua to Sagarmatha.” We hear you and we laud your efforts Wasfia.
I don’t have to say much about the impacts of climate change on Bangladesh. As a nation that contributes very little to global warming, Bangladesh tops the global climate change risk index. Facing grave dangers of rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns, the country aims to adapt to the changing climate and that will require great reslience and courage. Calling it the temperature challenge, Wasfia is being the image of a resilient Bangladesh by facing extreme weather upon these peaks.
As the founder of “Bangladesh on seven summits foundation“, she is determined to come back and through her organization train and educate young women in adventure sports, wilderness studies and more. She believes in encouraging and promoting Indigenous communities as an integral part of the climate solution. For 350.org, Wasfia’s story is a great example of individuals and organizations making giant efforts in identifying and addressing the key challenges of our times. They are telling us that if they can, so can we. And we must!