April 10, 2012
This week in Rotterdam, Nepali mountain guide Dawa Steven Sherpa was honored with the first ever WWF International President’s Award for his contribution to Himalayan conservation.
A professional guide, mountaineer and conservation activist, Sherpa heads an adventure trekking company that encourages respect for nature among mountaineers and explorers.
His Eco Everest Expedition 2011 – in which he and legendary mountaineer Apa Sherpa focused on climbing in an eco-sensitive manner to keep Everest clean and collect garbage, debris and waste left by past expedition groups – garnered worldwide attention. The collected garbage was brought down to the Base Camp by members of the clean up team for proper disposal. The team used alternative energy solutions like parabolic solar cookers, solar lightings and the ultraviolet light pens for water purification. It also created a “cash for trash” scheme where climbers are paid to bring garbage back down off the mountain.
Raised in Kathmandu, Dawa has been organizing expeditions since 2008. He also works with local youth to inspire and empower them to become active in mountain conservation. Dawa is now 28.
The World Wildlife Fund said in a press statement that the award acknowledges and encourages outstanding achievements of young people under the age of 30, who are making strong and compelling contributions to nature conservation around the world.
The WWF International President’s Award will be presented annually, and nominations are invited via WWF offices around the world.
At the ceremony WWF International president Yolanda Kakabadse said, “We desperately need young leaders and pioneers in nature conservation. If anyone can inspire others to do their bit for the planet, it is Dawa Steven Sherpa.”
“Dawa was WWF Nepal’s Climate Ambassador under the ‘Climate For Life’ campaign in 2010 in which he joined hands with Apa Sherpa and embarked on an expedition through 10 European cities to raise awareness on the impacts of climate change in the Himalayas,” stated Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “The WWF International President’s Award to Dawa Steven underscores the potential of today’s youth in Nepal to be the change they want to see,” he said.