Environmental quality, social justice, and economic opportunity are critical to the well-being of the planet. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals 2015 achieved some success in reducing hunger and sending more girls to school, among other things. However, environmental sustainability in developing countries has worsened. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 were developed to address the environmental sustainability gap. Economic development, preservation of the environment, and social justice all go hand in hand.
While developed countries have been able to control contagious diseases with sewerage and water treatment, the least developed countries (LDCs) are still struggling with these issues. As a result, three times as many (25.6 million) people in LDCs die each year from mostly preventable diseases. There is a global consensus that climate change, habitat alteration, deforestation, soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, overpopulation, and pollution are some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. These problems are even greater in low-income countries where resources are under pressure and poverty and hunger are already taking a huge toll in human lives. The Himalayas play a critical role as they are the tallest mountain range in the world and serve as the primary source of fresh water for more than a billion people. The Himalayas are also experiencing dramatic impacts of global climate change.