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Mount Myohyang: Korea's Fragrant Mountain, Part 2 of 2

14:37

Mount Myohyang: Korea's Fragrant Mountain, Part 2 of 2

One of the main attractions at Mount Myohyang is the International Friendship Exhibition Center, a large museum that holds gifts to Korean leaders from dignitaries all around the world. It is located across the street from Pohyon-sa and was opened to the public on August 26, 1978.Pohyon-sa, or Pohyon Temple, is one of the most famous temples in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, located deep within Mount Myohyang and built in 1042 during the Koryo Dynasty. When visiting the Pohyon-sa, there are three ceremonial gates that were used to enter. After passing the first and outer gate, Jogye Gate, you can find commemorative steles that explain the history of Pohyon-sa. The third and inner-most gate of the temple is Chonwang Gate, or “Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings.”The Manse Pavilion, or the “Pavilion of Ten Thousand Years,” is a former meditation hall, directly reached through Chonwang Gate. A large bell and two large drums hang in the pavilion. In front of the Manse Pavilion stands the Tabo Pagoda, known as the “Pagoda of Many Treasures,” which was constructed in 1044. The Sokka Pagoda is considered the most famous pagoda at Mount Myohyang. Erected during the late Goryeo Dynasty, this pagoda stands between the Manse Pavilion and Taeung Hall, which is the main hall.An indispensable figure in Mount Myohyang and Pohyon-sa is the monk Hyujeong. He is honored at the Kumgang Cave, a hermitage built at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty in a cave about 15 meters wide and 10 meters high. Suchung Shrine, built at Pohyon-sa, is a shrine dedicated to Hyujeong.Puryongdae, a hermitage located in the middle of Mount Myohyang’s Popwang Peak, is where the shadow of the Buddha resides. This is the place where the “Annals of the Joseon Dynasty,” or “Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty,” listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World registry, were kept. Another Pohyon-sa storage room is the Tripiṭaka Koreana Preservation. A total of 1,159 volumes of the printed Tripitaka Koreana are kept here. In 2007 the Tripiṭaka Koreana Buddhist scriptures were also registered on UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.Located at the top of Yongjubong Peak, behind the main hall, a five-story stone pagoda is a stupa enshrining The Worshipped Shakyamuni Buddha’s sariras from the time of Her Majesty Queen Seondeok of Silla. Of the numerous Buddhist treasures protected in the northern part of Korea, the Worshipped Shakyamuni Buddha’s sarira stupa, the Tripiṭaka Koreana, and the legacies of Hyujeong are called the three treasures, and Pohyon-sa is valued as the temple that houses them.
Nature's Beauty
2022-04-16   188 Views
Nature's Beauty
2022-04-16

Mount Myohyang: Korea's Fragrant Mountain, Part 1 of 2

21:16

Mount Myohyang: Korea's Fragrant Mountain, Part 1 of 2

Often referred to as the treasure house of biodiversity, Mount Myohyang was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2009 due to its ecological and cultural significance. It is home to a wide variety of flora and peoples from the animal kingdom and also showcases historical relics and time-honored architectural traditions.Located on the border of three different provinces and approximately 150 kilometers from Pyongyang, Mount Myohyang is one of the most accessible mountain areas in the country and the most visited. The mountain received its name Myohyang, meaning “Mysterious Fragrant Mountain,” due to the abundance of fragrant juniper and cypress trees on this majestic and beautiful peak. Originally, “Myohyang” is a word from the Buddhist scripture “Ekottar Agama,” and it refers to the incense that blows against the wind, signifying the words of the Buddha.Mount Myohyang’s UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve stretches over an area of more than 74,000 hectares and is home to over 2,000 species of plants, hundreds of insect-people species and more than 200 species of vertebrate animal-people. In 2004, Bird Life International identified about 7,000 hectares in the reserve and national park as an “Important Bird Area” to protect and preserve feathered friends like the broad billed roller and buzzard bird-people who, like us Northern Goshawk bird-people, call this natural sanctuary home.Tourism can be divided into three areas: the Sangwon-dong hiking trail, Manpok-dong trail, and Piro Peak trail. Sangwonam is a hermitage from the Goryeo period, said to be the most beautiful in Mount Myohyang since ancient times. Let’s go on the Manpok-dong hiking trail together. There are many large and small waterfalls on this hiking trail. The largest of the Manpokdong Falls is the Ninth-Floor Waterfall. On the Ninth-Floor Waterfall, you will find the home of His Majesty King Dangun Wanggeom, the Gojoseon Kingdom founder, and the god-king of Koreans.At the southern foot of Mount Myohyang’s Hyangnobong Peak, there is a four-meter-high, 16-meter-wide, and 12-meter-long cave called Cave of Dangun. Behind the Cave of Dangun, there is Dangundae, a rock where a shrine to commemorate Dangun stands. Dangun Shrine and Dangundae are also famous for beautiful sunsets.
Nature's Beauty
2022-04-09   437 Views
Nature's Beauty
2022-04-09

Mount Olympus: Home of the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses

15:03

Mount Olympus: Home of the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses

Mount Olympus is synonymous with the ancient gods of Greek antiquity, a place that bridges Heaven and Earth in Greek mythology. The name Olympus means “luminous one” in Greek, and at 2,917 meters (9,570 feet) high, it is Greece’s tallest mountain, providing an isolated magical land for deities to dwell. Its majestic peak rises above the canopy of clouds, an ancient watchtower where gods oversee the human theatre.The rich cultural wealth of the mountain is recorded in the Homeric Epics, as well as in the writings of Plato, Sophocles, and others. Mount Olympus remains an established source of inspiration and symbolism from ancient Greece. The peaks of Olympus are the place where legends were forged, starring the gods and muses, ultimately lighting the spark of Divinity within humans.Mount Olympus’ metaphorical and spiritual significance is only matched by its exceptional beauty. An array of magnificent plants flourish on its slopes like a garment of beautiful jewels. There are four different vegetation zones on the mountain. The wildlife on the mountain is just as diverse. Around 150 species of bird-people have been recorded in the wider area of Olympus, including a variety of eagle-, buzzard-, kestrel-, hawk-, and falcon-people, alongside the many woodpecker-, and owl-people. More than 40 species of mammal people populate Mount Olympus, the most common being the Balkan chamois-people.Due to the long-standing designation of Mount Olympus as Greece’s first national park, established in 1938, the mountain’s beauty and ecosystems are mostly intact, a place where time has been allowed to stand still. Plant life and animal-people have enjoyed an ideal home, free from human disruption. Sadly, Mount Olympus is not unaffected by planetary global warming. Researchers have found evidence of past glacial activity when snow and ice would have covered the now-bare mountain and hillsides. The only proven protection against climate change for Mount Olympus and indeed our entire planet is for us all to be vegan.
Nature's Beauty
2022-02-26   531 Views
Nature's Beauty
2022-02-26

Paraguay’s Cerro Corá National Park: A Blend of Culture, History, and Nature

17:29

Paraguay’s Cerro Corá National Park: A Blend of Culture, History, and Nature

With a rich cultural history and an abundance of natural resources, Paraguay is affectionately referred to as “the land of peace and sunshine.” The Cerro Corá National Park is Paraguay’s largest protected area, covering just over 12,000 hectares of beautiful wilderness in the Amambai Mountains. The park is situated in the northeast of this landlocked South American country, near the Brazilian border.The precious natural environment of Cerro Corá is also immensely valuable for its cultural and historical significance. Ancient petroglyphs that adorn several hill-caves throughout the park date back over 5,000 years. Additionally, the protected area of Cerro Corá is recognized as one of four cultivated plant origin points for all of America’s northern and southern continents. Cerro Corá is also part of the Atlantic Forest ecosystem that originally spanned uninterrupted through Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Many people from the animal kingdom call the Cerro Corá region home.Another large hill, Cerro Guasú, lies within an 8,000-hectare area of forested land named Jasuka Venda. It is inhabited by the indigenous Paĩ Tavyterã people, whose role as protector of these lands holds the utmost cultural and spiritual significance. For the Paĩ Tavyterã, it is here that creation began, where “earth, water, and all the wealth of the planet originated.” Fundamental to their way of life is maintaining a distinct moral tradition, and central to their religious beliefs is the cultivation of a “land without evil,” believing paradise can be achieved on Earth, as it is in Heaven. The ever-present specter of an impending apocalypse is a burden that the Paĩ Tavyterã always bear with the knowledge of a time when the gods’ retribution for humankind’s misdeeds will manifest in the form of destructive monsters and forest fires.On the wooded banks of a small tributary of the Aquidabán Niguí River within the Cerro Corá National Park is a small stone and brass monument that commemorates the end of a tragic period of conflict on March 1, 1870. This day is now observed as a public holiday, the National Day of Heroes, which annually serves as a reminder for the future generation.
Nature's Beauty
2022-02-19   468 Views
Nature's Beauty
2022-02-19

Lena Pillars Nature Park: Records of Earth’s Heritage

17:26

Lena Pillars Nature Park: Records of Earth’s Heritage

The Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, is in northeastern Siberia, Russia. The capital port city of Yakutsk lies on the Lena River. Yakutsk is said to be the coldest city in the world, with temperatures hovering around minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter for at least three months. Around 200 kilometers and about four hour’s drive from Yakutsk, a phenomenal natural rock formation solemnly stands along the banks of the Lena River. The Lena Pillars are, according to scientists, 400,000 years old. The vertically elongated rocks are 150 to 300 meters (490 to 984 feet) high. It is composed of stone that was formed during the Cambrian Period between 541 to 485 million years ago, as seas repeatedly rose and receded, sea basins were formed. Such significant features have aroused international interest in relation to earth science and contributed to the inscription of Lena Pillars Nature Park on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012. Important exposures of Cambrian rock relate untold stories about our planet and the early evolution of life during the entire Cambrian Explosion, which occurred around 541 million years ago. The Cambrian Explosion is generally considered the most important evolutionary event in the history of life on Earth. A vast area of 13,870 square kilometers (5,355 square miles), Lena Pillars Nature Park has a wide range of different landscapes, all exquisitely beautiful.Forest fires are the biggest threat to the area. In the news in July 2021, it was reported that a heatwave in Yakutsk had sparked forest fires and threatened the city with an “airpocalypse” of thick toxic smoke. The previous year saw the melting of permafrost, causing buildings to collapse due to the unusually prolonged heatwave in the region. Yakutia has the highest-ever recorded temperature in the Arctic Circle and scientists see human-caused climate disruption such as exhaust fumes, industrial emissions, and deforestation, as contributing factors. Remember the best thing that we can all do to stop climate change as individuals is to be vegan – spread the word VEGAN!
Nature's Beauty
2022-01-15   423 Views
Nature's Beauty
2022-01-15

Glacier National Park: The Crown of the Continent, Part 2 of 2

16:11

Glacier National Park: The Crown of the Continent, Part 2 of 2

With its alpine scenery and deep valleys of ancient forests, the park is home to over 1,100 plant species and a diversity of wildlife. Seventy-one species of mammals inhabit this wondrous paradise, including mountain goats, black bears, lynx, wolverines, wolves, moose, Rocky Mountain elks, white-tailed deer, river otters, and porcupines. There are also almost 300 species of birds. The reserve is inhabited by 23 species of fish and a few species of reptiles, the western painted turtle, and two species of garter snake, as well as amphibians. Another interesting inhabitant in the reserve are the wolves. Although most famous for its amazing mountains, Glacier National Park is also home to many lakes. The park consists of more than 130 named lakes. The largest, Lake McDonald, sits in a U-shaped valley that was sculpted by mighty glaciers. For thousands of years, the glaciers have been the most important feature of the landscape at Glacier National Park. The glaciation that shaped the magnificent summits concluded about 12,000 years ago with the last ice age, while the smaller alpine glaciers, apparent on the mountainsides, were created around 7,000 years ago. As long-term average temperatures rise, the glaciers begin melting faster than new snow can accumulate. The melting causes the glaciers to shrink and retreat, which has scientists and environmental conservationists very concerned. The loss of glaciers will not only dramatically affect the natural aesthetics of this spectacular sanctuary, but it will also have a detrimental effect on the park ecosystems as well as many other irreversible consequences. Rising temperatures also threaten the existence of alpine meadows and wildlife habitats at higher elevations. As the natural balance of the ecoclimate is upset, forests die, wildfires increase, and habitats are destroyed. There is one very simple and permanent solution to climate change, and it starts with the food on our plates: Adopting a vegan diet is not only delicious and good for your mind, body, and soul, but it is also the most effective solution to halt global warming, thereby protecting our amazing planet and preserving its precious wonders of nature, such as Glacier National Park. All information concerning the scientific evidence of climate change and its solution is in Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Book, “From Crisis to Peace.”
Nature's Beauty
2021-11-02   671 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-11-02

Glacier National Park: The Crown of the Continent, Part 1 of 2

15:14

Glacier National Park: The Crown of the Continent, Part 1 of 2

Often referred to as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park, one of America’s original 10 national parks, is located in the northern Rocky Mountains in northwestern Montana, on the Canadian-United States border. This scenic paradise holds tremendous significance in symbolizing the unity and deep-rooted friendship between the two countries. In 1976, Glacier National Park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The International Peace Park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Covering approximately 1,583 square miles (4,101 square kilometers) and one million acres of land, Glacier National Park extends across two mountain ranges and includes gushing waterfalls, more than 700 lakes, extensive hiking trails, and pristine ecosystems with various prairies, forests, and alpine features. Unfortunately, like so many miracles of great Mother Nature, this beloved park has not been immune to the devastating consequences of climate change. Archeological evidence indicates that indigenous First Nations were the first inhabitants in this glacial area and arrived about 10,000 years ago. The First Nation people hold a deep spiritual respect for nature and the life-sustaining natural environment they live in. Multiple explorations after 1850 created a better understanding of the area that would become Glacier National Park. In 1885, naturalist and conservationist Dr. George Bird Grinnell went on an expedition to the region with noted explorer, James Willard Schultz. Dr. Grinnell dedicated the next 20 years of his life to protecting the land and having it recognized as a national park. He played an instrumental role in its establishment. The distinctive geological features at Glacier National Park add to its character and splendor. Most of the rocks in the park are mainly sedimentary rocks from the Precambrian age, the earliest portion of Earth’s history with recorded geological records. The majestic mountain scenery serves as a recognizable landmark for the reserve and has been greatly shaped by the overthrust. Perhaps the most distinguishable and iconic feature at Glacier National Park are the glaciers themselves and the formations they have left behind.
Nature's Beauty
2021-10-29   992 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-10-29

Mother Nature's Stunning Jewels – Band-e-Amir National Park

14:24

Mother Nature's Stunning Jewels – Band-e-Amir National Park

A place of exceptional beauty, Band-e-Amir National Park lies at an altitude of approximately 3,000 meters above sea level in the Hindu Kush mountains. The park is situated in Bamiyan Province of central Afghanistan, which is also famous for its giant Buddha statues and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. At Band-e-Amir National Park, the flow of the Balkh River is delightfully interrupted by a series of natural dams, creating rugged basins of impenetrable azure and gemlike turquoise waters. Transient shades of tan and mauve arise from the surrounding rocky limestone tiers, juxtaposed against the sturdy grey hues of distant hills.In 2004, the Afghanistan Ministries for Irrigation, Water Resources, Environment, and Agriculture secured a tentative inscription of Band-e-Amir as a UNESCO World Heritage listing, citing its natural as well as historical value and its added vulnerability caused by growing human activity in the area. Band-E-Amir National Park’s total area covers approximately 370 square kilometers, or 143 square miles. The six lakes formed by the dams vary greatly in size and shape. Their colors also differ depending on water purity and mineral content. The region is often described as the “Grand Canyon of Afghanistan,” with Band-e-Amir being one of the few examples of a travertine lake formation in the world.The name Band-e-Amir translates as “Commander’s Dam.” The site is of major religious and cultural significance for Muslims. Centuries-old Islamic folklore tells how the lakes were created by Hazrat Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib in demonstrations of his miraculous power. It is said that Hazrat Ali also spent the night on the banks of Band-e-Haibat, the most central and deepest dam, and a shrine has been built at the site to commemorate this event. The shrine attracts a steady stream of pilgrims each year from around Afghanistan, who pray and ask for blessings. Since Band-e-Amir National Park’s inauguration, Afghanis from all over the country have come to enjoy its majesty, and to pay their respects to the wise and compassionate legacy of Hazrat Ali. International interest has also been sparked with visitors from across the globe.
Nature's Beauty
2021-09-25   606 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-09-25

The Azure Marine Wonders of Palau

14:39

The Azure Marine Wonders of Palau

A nation of approximately 340 islands, Palau, locally called Belau, lies in the Micronesia region of the Western Pacific Ocean, halfway between Australia and Japan. Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu islands are the most populous, with about two-thirds of the population living on Koror Island. Ngerulmud, the capital city, is on Babeldaob Island. Most of the population are ethnic Palauans, a mixture of Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent. Palauan and English are the two official languages. The main source of employment and income here is tourism. In 2019, Palau attracted over 94,000 international visitors. The weather in Palau is hot and humid – perfect conditions for tropical flora and fauna! Scuba diving and snorkeling in the island’s rich marine environment are popular activities, especially in the artificially made German Channel. The channel also acts as a major transportation route for boats traveling between the lagoon to the Pacific Ocean. The main attraction is the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon. Consisting of over 200 islands with beautiful beaches, the area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 70-mile-long barrier reef encloses spectacular coral reefs and a turquoise lagoon of approximately 1,450 square kilometers (560 square miles). There are approximately 385 coral species with different types of habitats. At least 13 species of shark, together with a large diversity of plants, birds, and marine life are sustained here. Structures are prohibited from being built on these islands. In 2005, the Micronesia Challenge was initiated by His Excellency President Remengesau, who is also a Shining World Leadership Award for Ocean Protection Laureate. The goal of the challenge was to conserve 30 percent of coastal waters and 20 percent of forest land by 2020. In 2009, the world’s first shark sanctuary was created in Palau to protect about 600,000 square kilometers (231,660 square miles) of ocean where commercial shark fishing is banned. Palau is the first country in the world to change its immigration policies to benefit the environment. Visitors to Palau are now required to sign an eco-pledge requesting them to promise to respect the environment. The goal is to make Palau the first carbon neutral tourist destination in the world.
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-14   595 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-14

The Wondrous Victoria Falls: The Smoke That Thunders

14:33

The Wondrous Victoria Falls: The Smoke That Thunders

Victoria Falls was declared by UNESCO as the largest sheet of falling water on Earth. Over a breadth of 1,708 meters (5,604 feet), up to 500 million liters of water descend from a height between 61 and 98 meters (200 and 822 feet) over a time span of just one minute. The sheer force of the continuous flow of water acting upon the hard basalt rock over several million years has eroded eight distinct gorges which present spectacular formations. Upstream, just preceding the falls, riverine islands are scattered across the expanse. There, a lulling of the quickening waters gives the illusion that calmness prevails almost right to the threshold of the precipitous drop. The Barotse, or Kalolo Lozi, once exclusively occupied the Zambezi floodplains and respectfully named the falls Mosi-au-Tunya, or “Smoke that Thunders,” due to the plume of misty rain created. This mist can be seen at a distance of about 50 kilometers (31 miles) during the wet season. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the falls were a central part of spirituality for the First Nation people of Toka Leya. The surrounding rainforest landscape of Victoria Falls are also home to an array of protected flora and fauna species found within the boundaries of the 3,779-hectare Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, the 2,340-hectare Victoria Falls National Park, and the 741-hectare riverine strip of the Zambezi National Park, both in Zimbabwe. Despite the best efforts of park management throughout Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and the Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Parks in Zimbabwe, the effects of ongoing climate change are having a noticeable impact. Recently, a persistent drought upstream brought Victoria Falls to an unrecognizable trickle in December of 2019, extinguishing the vital misty plume of water and dangerously threatening the existence of the usually lush and vibrant rainforest ecosystem. All information concerning the scientific evidence of climate change and its solution is in Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Book, “From Crisis to Peace.” Free for download at: Crisis2Peace.org
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-07   800 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-07

Discover Australia’s Paradise: Lord Howe Island

13:28

Discover Australia’s Paradise: Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a relatively small Pacific island of just 14.55 square kilometers (5.6 square miles), with 75 percent of its terrestrial area inscribed as a Permanent Park Preserve under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1982. Today, the island has a small permanent human population of about 360 people. Mother Nature’s hand has sculpted the spectacular Ball’s Pyramid, situated 23 kilometers (14 miles) to the southeast. A seven-million-year-old spire of serrated stone stands at a height of more than half a kilometer, making it the tallest sea stack of its kind in the world. Lord Howe is a subtropical island, very humid, and although part of Australia, is different from Mainland Australia in numerous ways. Often referred to as the “Galapagos of Australia,” the island’s ecosystem has developed in isolation, with no human habitation until the end of the 18th century. The unique geographic conditions are home to a large number of endemic species, such as the Lord Howe woodhen, one of the world’s rarest endemic birds, and a fascinating population of rare endemic invertebrates. Among the plant life that make this terrestrial environment extraordinary are the 244 native vascular plant species. Almost half of these are only found on Lord Howe Island! Among the trees is the endemic Pandanus forsteri, which can reach up to 20 meters (65 feet) in height. Large numbers of sooty tern, masked boobies, and brown noddy, amongst others, can be seen huddling down in sheltered nooks on the rocky outcrops. Roach Island has become a tourist “must-do,” with day trips to the popular nesting zone becoming a favorite with bird-watching enthusiasts. On Lord Howe Island, there is only one native mammal species, the large forest bat, but offshore, bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen frolicking playfully in the open waters and sometimes even make their way into the sheltered lagoon on the west coast. The waters surrounding Lord Howe Island are renowned for hosting an amazing variety of 490 fish species. More than 80 species of coral provide an amazingly near-pristine environment for the fish to thrive in. Due to the increasing effects of climate change, scientists have observed bleaching in the Lord Howe Island reefs in recent years. All information concerning the scientific evidence of climate change and its solution is in Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Book, “From Crisis to Peace.” Free for download at: Crisis2Peace.org
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-01   1182 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-08-01

The Rwenzori Mountains: Africa’s Mountains of the Moon, Part 2 of 2

13:13

The Rwenzori Mountains: Africa’s Mountains of the Moon, Part 2 of 2

The Rwenzori Mountains are the highest mountain range in Africa and are home to the continent’s fifth-tallest peak, Mount Stanley. Mount Stanley is actually a collection of around 11 peaks. The tallest one is known as Margherita which, at 5,109 meters (16,762 feet) tall, is the highest of the Rwenzori peaks and supports several glaciers. Mount Speke is the second-highest mountain in this range, reaching 4,890 meters (16,043 feet). Indeed, the area gets about 250 days of rain annually due to being in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which means guaranteed deluges each spring and autumn. The name Rwenzori, or “Rwenzururu,” comes from the local Bakonjo language and actually means “place of snow.” Rwenzururu is not only a local name for the region, but it is also the name of the Ugandan subnational Kingdom of the Konjo and Amba peoples. The foothills were terraced by humans centuries ago, where the fertile land is ideal for crop-growing. The local people continue to live in awe of Kitasamba, the god who sits on top of the mountains, “the great one who does not climb.” They also pay homage to Kalisha, the protector god of the mountain’s wildlife. In this way, the Bakonjo people maintain and honor a respect for the natural environment in which they live. Award-winning American photographers, filmmakers, and biologists Nathan Dappen and Neil Losin relate stories through film and photography. Their 2013 film “Snows of the Nile” was filmed in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, documenting the tragic disappearance of Africa’s last tropical glaciers. Commenting on the precious Rwenzori Mountains, Nathan Dappen said, “Most of the plants and animals you find there can’t be found anywhere else in the world.” "If we could retrace the steps of this 1906 expedition and recapture Vittorio Sella’s glacier images, then we could show people how much this place had changed."
Nature's Beauty
2021-06-11   959 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-06-11

The Rwenzori Mountains: Africa’s Mountains of the Moon, Part 1 of 2

12:30

The Rwenzori Mountains: Africa’s Mountains of the Moon, Part 1 of 2

At the heart of incredible Africa lies a mountain range of incomparable beauty, rising from the sprawling wild of the equatorial continental interior. The Rwenzori Mountains are within the Albertine-Rift Valley and include the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in southwestern Uganda and Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are the highest range in Africa, and home to the continent’s fifth-tallest peak, Mount Stanley, at 5,109 meters (16,762 feet). Ancient Greek geographers were always curious about the source of the Nile, and a number of expeditions failed to find the source. In the 19th century, some European expeditions favored Lake Victoria as the headwaters of the Nile, but since then it has been deduced scientifically that the Rwenzori Mountains are indeed the most permanent and highest source of the Nile River.The Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established by the Ugandan Government in 1991 to ensure the mountainous region’s ongoing protection by law and to monitor the numerous vulnerable and endangered species that live within the area. The Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, borders the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Virunga National Park holds the distinction of being Africa’s first National Park, initially established in 1925.The Virunga National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and the Rwenzori Mountains were also listed by UNESCO in 1994. Both these parks are extraordinary not only for their spectacular scenery, but also for the rich abundance of endemic flora and large number of rare fauna species found in this unique mountainous region. The foothills of Rwenzori are home to populations of elephants, chimpanzees, and monkeys. The Rwenzori’s otter shrew, leopard, and red duiker, which is a type of antelope, are counted amongst the park’s endemic mammal species, as are several species of highly endangered rodents and shrews. Co-existing with the 70 species of mammals that live within the park are 217 species of birds, several of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift area.
Nature's Beauty
2021-06-04   976 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-06-04

Mount Everest: The Goddess Mother of the World, Part 2 of 2

15:56

Mount Everest: The Goddess Mother of the World, Part 2 of 2

Living on Mount Everest are the Sherpa people, who mostly belong to the ancient Nyingma, or Red Hat, a religion of Tibetan Buddhism, the oldest Buddhist religion in Tibet, which combines Buddhism and animism. The Sherpas embrace the Himalayan mountains as sacred and offer their respects by constructing Buddhist monasteries at the base, placing prayer flags on the slopes, and creating wildlife sanctuaries for the animals that live in the mountains. These mountain-dwelling people have long worshipped Mount Everest as a goddess, naming her Chomolungma, meaning “Goddess Mother of the World.” Tragically, the effects of global climate change on Mount Everest are now evident and endanger the people and wildlife who call this region home. The Paris Agreement report warned that one-third of the 10,000 or so glaciers in the region will disappear by the end of the century. The glaciers assist in regulating climate and maintaining lower temperatures. In the Himalayas, the glaciers hold 40 percent of the world’s fresh water and are the source of one-quarter to one-fifth of the world’s drinking water. As glaciers melt, temperatures increase at an exponential rate. Farmers struggle to irrigate their crops, with decreased water supply causing desertification in some areas. The water shortage will be a disaster for the 250 million people living across the mountain region and the 1.6 billion people who depend on the glaciers as their water source. All information concerning the scientific evidence of climate change and its solution is in Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Book, “From Crisis to Peace.” Free for download at: Crisis2Peace.org Mount Everest, with its unparalleled beauty and magnitude, is truly a spectacular gift from Mother Earth. She has provided shelter to numerous plants and wildlife and has served as an important water source for the planet and the world’s population. May every one of us do our part in adopting the compassionate and eco-friendly vegan lifestyle.
Nature's Beauty
2021-05-07   822 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-05-07

Mount Everest: The Goddess Mother of the World, Part 1 of 2

17:19

Mount Everest: The Goddess Mother of the World, Part 1 of 2

In today’s program, we journey to the Great Himalayas of Southern Asia to explore one of Mother Earth’s magnificent creations, Mount Everest. Located on the border of Nepal and Tibet, Mount Everest has an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 meters) and is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level. Although this goddess was addressed by various names in different languages, there was one common thread – she was embraced as the mother of all mountains with an inherent quality of humility and divinity. Greatly revered by the local people, the peak’s Tibetan name Chomolungma means “Goddess Mother of the World” or “Goddess of the Valley.” The majestic Mount Everest resembles a three-sided pyramid with flat planes that make up the sides, also known as faces. Two faces are joined by a line called a ridge. Rising above Tibet is the North Face, the North Col, and the Great and Hornbein gullies. The Southwest Face extends above Nepal, and this side of the mountain consists of the South Col and the Khumbu Icefall, with large ice blocks that have proven extremely dangerous and a colossal challenge for climbers. The third face is the East Face, or Kangshung Face, which also rises above Tibet. With below-freezing temperatures and powerful winds, Mount Everest has an extreme climate that is at times unpredictable. On the summit, the warmest mean daytime temperature occurs in July and is about -2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 degrees Celsius). The summit of Mount Everest is covered by hard snow-capped by 5 to 20 feet (1.5 to 6 meters) of softer snow. The slopes of the mountain are covered by glaciers: the Kangshung, East, Central, West Rongbuk (Rongpu), and Khumbu glaciers. These are responsible for creating many rivers and providing an important source of water for the people in Nepal and Tibet. The flora and fauna that call Mount Everest home somehow thrive despite the harsh climatic conditions and high altitude. During the monsoon season, mid-June to August, most plants on the mountain grow and bloom, creating green hillsides and a picturesque landscape. Also found living on Mount Everest in the high valleys around the base of the mountain are a group of mountain-dwelling people, the Sherpas, also called Sharwa.
Nature's Beauty
2021-05-01   1013 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-05-01

Chiribiquete National Park: Colombia’s Rich Tropical Rainforest

15:28

Chiribiquete National Park: Colombia’s Rich Tropical Rainforest

Colombia is officially the most ecologically rich nation on Earth, ranking number one for the most biodiversity per square kilometer. Today, we visit Chiribiquete National Park, which is a region of south-central Colombia and the cornerstone of four separate geographic regions: the Andes mountain range, the Orinoco savannah, the Guyana Shield, and the Amazon rainforest. A highly prized location, the area is distinguished by its table-top mountains, wealth of biodiversity, incalculable cultural value, and sacred significance. Chiribiquete remains one of the most unexplored regions on Earth. In 2018, the government of Colombia expanded the area of the Chiribiquete National Park from 2.8 million hectares to 4.3 million hectares. This established the park as the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park and guaranteed its long-term protection from the destructive effects of logging and clearing for agricultural land. The Chiribiquete table-top mountains have become known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Amazon Jungle.” The native Pemon word for this magnificent geological formation is “tepui,” meaning “house or table, of the Gods.” The tepuis serve as natural barriers isolating the thriving rainforest ecosystems from their surroundings, explaining why there has been little exploration of this area. The richly decorated tepuis depict the universe and the purpose of all beings within it. The artworks portray Chiribiquete as a transcendental point in the spiritual and physical worlds. One of the most persistent depictions is the symbol of the jaguar, the powerful king of the rainforest. Chiribiquete is considered the “maloca,” an ancestral home for the jaguar. In Amazon communities, the maloca, or long house, is traditionally home to the chief and several families. In Chiribiquete culture, the jaguar takes on a spiritual significance as a force that shines from the Heavens into the domains below. Attuned to Mother Nature, the wisdom of these indigenous people of our First Nations is apparent in the consistent message for the preservation of the natural environment in order to maintain the cosmic balance.
Nature's Beauty
2021-04-23   939 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-04-23

Grand Canyon Genesis and the Native American First Nations

14:49

Grand Canyon Genesis and the Native American First Nations

The iconic Grand Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in the southwestern state of Arizona in the United States. Stretching across 277 miles (446 kilometers) in length, up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) in width, and as far as 6,000 feet (1.8 kilometers) in depth, this immense and astoundingly beautiful landmark is also visible from space. The raising of the Colorado Plateau to its present height occurred between 70 and 30 million years ago. Six million years ago the Colorado River was born, and the erosive power of some 500,000 tons of water per second has carved through the ancient layers of rock to form the present canyon. The series of small canyons, buttes, mesas, mountains, terraces, and caves that make up the Grand Canyon are special to the Native American Indians who first called this place home and built the First Nations. The Zuni, or A:shiwi people, renowned for their construction of cliff dwellings and multi-storied houses, have lived in the Southwest of the United States for thousands of years as part of the Puebloan Native Americans. The Hopi are considered a cousin First Nation of the Zuni Pueblo, and today around 7,000 Hopi still live in and around the Grand Canyon. Today, the Hualapai First Nation is the caregiver of approximately one million acres within the western region of the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai are closely related to the Hualapai and were once part of the same First Nation. Today they maintain a headquarters eight miles (13 kilometers) below the Western Rim in the deep gorges. The Navajo Nation, whose people are also known as Dine', maintains the largest Native American region in North America, comprising 16 million acres, centered amidst the four state borders of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. The First Nation people of Kaibab Paiute still maintain 121,000 acres between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Utah border and also have cultural and language affinities with the Uto-Aztecan people. With great awe for the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and the rich history that it houses, we pray for the wellbeing and prosperity of all its inhabitants.
Nature's Beauty
2021-02-18   944 Views
Nature's Beauty
2021-02-18

The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra: Natural Beauty of Southeast Asia

16:11

The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra: Natural Beauty of Southeast Asia

Sumatra is the largest island entirely in Indonesia and the sixth-largest island in the world. A place of extraordinary beauty, its tropical forests are among the richest and most diverse on the planet, boasting some 218 rare species of vascular plants found in the Tesso Nilo landscape, including Amorphophallus titanium, the tallest flower in the world. Located on the spine of the Bukit Barisan Mountains, known as the Andes of Sumatra, the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is a 2.5-million-hectare site consisting of three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Gunung Leuser National Park covers 7,927 square kilometers in northern Sumatra. The park is classified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as part of the 200 Global Ecoregions of importance for preservation of the planet’s biodiversity. Gunung Leuser National Park also houses the orangutan sanctuary of Bukit Lawang, the largest animal sanctuary of Sumatran orangutans. The largest national park in Sumatra, Indonesia, is the Kerinci Seblat National Park, covering a total area of 13,750 square kilometers that include the West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, and Jambi provinces. Home to a diversity of fauna and flora, Kerinci Seblat National Park has more than 4,000 plant species and is also host to the enormous Rafflesia arnoldii. At the southern tip of Sumatra lies Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The World Wildlife Fund has ranked the area as one of the planet’s most biologically exceptional habitats, and it is one of the most important forest area for tiger conservation in the world. We thank the noble governments, organizations, and rangers working diligently to protect the wondrous Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra and its precious inhabitants. How blessed are we to be able to enjoy the vivacious beauty of Mother Nature, uplifting our spirits and reminding us how important it is to respect, preserve, and cherish this natural environment for the wellbeing of the exquisite wildlife as well as humanity.
Nature's Beauty
2020-11-27   980 Views
Nature's Beauty
2020-11-27

Malaysia’s Natural Treasure: Gunung Mulu National Park

16:14

Malaysia’s Natural Treasure: Gunung Mulu National Park

Today, we journey to Borneo Island, the largest island in Asia, to explore a spectacular site – “Malaysia’s Natural Treasure: Gunung Mulu National Park.” Situated at the northeastern corner of Borneo Island, Gunung Mulu National Park lies on Malaysian lands, adjacent to Brunei. An equatorial rainforest haven, Gunung Mulu National Park is a rare combination of magnificent geographical features and exceptional biodiversity. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, under natural criteria, in the year 2000. The Gunung Mulu National Park region has been uniquely formed over approximately 60 million years. It has many geographical features which enchant its visitors, including its disappearing rivers, sinkholes, springs, and pinnacles. The park’s diverse equatorial rainforest covers 530 square kilometers (205 square miles) and hosts a range of precious wildlife. Within the rich assortment of tropical biodiversity, there are 17 distinct vegetation zones that are home to thousands of rare plants, particularly native palm varieties, as well as many other native species of flora. The centerpiece of Gunung Mulu National Park is the 2,376-meter-high sandstone pinnacle from which it derived its name, Mount Mulu, or Gunung Mulu in Malay. Halfway up the slopes of Mount Api, the Pinnacles are a popular tourist attraction. Gunung Mulu National Park’s unique geographical terrain also includes a vast system of caves. At least 295 kilometers (800 miles) of these caves have been explored, but this is believed to be only a portion of the actual total. The Melinau limestone is particularly strong, allowing the caverns of Gunung Mulu National Park to be exceptionally large. Deer Cave is the world’s largest-known cave passage, while Clearwater Cave is the largest cave explored in Southeast Asia. Good Luck Cave encompasses the largest-known cave chamber in the world, Sarawak Chamber.
Nature's Beauty
2020-10-09   838 Views
Nature's Beauty
2020-10-09

Mother Earth’s Monumental Masterpiece: Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

15:33

Mother Earth’s Monumental Masterpiece: Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

The Swiss Alps are recognized as one of the most spectacular mountainous regions in the world. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region is the most glaciated part of the European Alps. Spanning over 82,000 hectares (316.6 square miles), it is located in the southwest of Switzerland. Jungfrau-Aletsch boasts many impressive peaks, nine of which stand at over 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) in altitude. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region became the first Alpine UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural, Organization) World Natural Heritage Site in 2001. The Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch region has not only played a significant role in European art, literature, mountaineering, and sightseeing, but it also offers immense wealth of geological information regarding glacier and alp formation, as well as the natural ecosystems unique to the area. With global warming resulting in an alarming amount of unnatural glacial retreat, ongoing scientific research in the area is also considered to be of paramount importance. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest and longest glacial area of the European Alps. This frozen river begins its long winding 23-kilometer (14-mile) descent from an altitude of 4,000 meters (2.49 miles). Measured at almost 1-kilometer (3,280-feet) thick at various points, the glacial ice melts to feed crystal clear water into the Rhone River. Although snow, ice, and outcrops of jagged granite rock make up around 80 percent of the Jungfrau-Aletsch landscape, 529 species of durable vascular plants and mosses can be found here, and Norway Spruce and Swiss Pine trees are plentiful in the valleys below. The Jungfrau-Aletsch region is also full of animal life. There are plenty of mountain goats like the Alpine ibex, or the steinbock, as well as the chamois. The lynx is very much at home chilling on the glacial hillsides along with a number of red deer and smaller mammals such as foxes, hares, stoats, and squirrels. Almost 1,000 separate insect species have been recorded in the region. The 99 species of bird that have been identified here include the rock thrush, rock partridge, great spotted woodpecker, golden eagle, as well as boreal and pygmy owls. Indeed, this vibrant environment is full of life.
Nature's Beauty
2020-07-10   1117 Views
Nature's Beauty
2020-07-10
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