By Staff Writer Kylie Cooper.
Mountaineer and humanitarian Dan Mazur shared stories of his expeditions up Mount Everest, as well as his environmental and societal efforts, during the Center for Indic Studies’ first seminar of the spring 2019 semester.
The multimedia presentation held on Thursday, February 21 included photos and videos Mazur has captured on his many adventures up Everest, the highest mountain above sea level in the world, and the societal progress he’s brought to Nepal through the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development. Nepal—where Mount Everest is located—is amongst the top poorest countries in the world.
Medical care is hard to come by, earthquakes send buildings into ruins of debris, and many children attend school on a rotational basis because of family farm labor needs. Charity non-profit organization Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development,founded and directed by Mazur, seeks to improve these conditions.“There’s a lot of discussion about cultural preservation,” Mazur said on their efforts.“We’ve been working hard to support their own indigenous culture.”
One way the organization has gone about this is by bringing medical care into villages. In Nepal, there aren’t many good sources of fuel, so many injuries and illnesses are caused by burning wood inside unventilated homes.
To treat respiratory issues and burns caused by this burning, some villagers leave to go to the city, where there is readily available medical care.
Yet, because they are poor, they don’t have the money to travel back to their village and must remain in the slums of the city.“If we can provide medical treatment in their village, it can help them stay,” Mazur said. Another pressing problem is the disposal of human waste on Mount Everest. Oftentimes,waste is simply throw into a pit on the side of the glacier that the base camp rests on. It then seeps into groundwater, thus creating pollution problems. thus calling for a collaboration between the Foundation, Engineers Without Borders, and Kathmandu University.
The Foundation, Engineers Without Border, and Kathmandu University have come together to install wastewater treatment systems that convert waste into methane gas, which can then be used to power electric sources and provide heat.“It’s critical that we work with [the people of Nepal] in a way that’s very sustainable for their own environment,” Mazur said.Mazur is most known for his 2006 rescue of Australian climber Lincoln Hall, in which he and his expedition team gave up their journey just 1,000 feet away from the summit to save Hall’s life.
Hall had been declared dead, but miraculously survived with thanks to Mazur and his team’s help.
It is not uncommon for climbers to walk by other struggling climbers who are near death;for many, the years of preparation and training dedicated to reaching the top of the world outweigh the cost of saving a stranger’s life.
But despite his numerous and selfless rescues, Mazur’s humble disposition and passion for helping others shines through most prominently. The Center for Indic Studies invited Mazur to UMassD because he was in the area giving other presentations.
Most recently, he spoke at Harvard University and the Museum of Science in Boston.
Mazur finds students’ interest “in what’s going on in the world” the most rewarding when speaking at universities.“[College students] like to go into more depth and be exposed to new things and new ideas,” he said. By sharing the stories of his humanitarian efforts, Mazur hopes for everyone—not just his audiences—to aim to make their communities and the world a better place.
“I really believe you should give back to wherever you are,” he said. “Whether you’re at home in your town or your house, you should try to give back and offer something up. We can take care of each other.”