Dr. John All, WKU geography faculty member, worked on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2010 to study climate change in the Himalayas. Considered an expert on climate change, All temporarily taught at Tribhuvan University in Nepal about how to use satellite imagery to study the effects of climate change on vegetation in the Himalayas. He spent more than 100 days backpacking through the mountains with Nepali graduate students measuring vegetation. He said what he has found flies in the face of climate warming skeptics.
“I had some friends come to visit and one of them told me how he read in the newspaper that the Himalayan glaciers aren’t really melting. I laughed in his face but didn’t say a word,” All said. “Politicians talk a lot about climate change without really understanding it and you see a lot of that in newspapers. Instead I took my friend to a vast chasm in the mountains.”
What they found was a valley more than 300 feet deep and nearly 5 miles long where 10 years ago, the entire gorge was filled with a glacier. “Now it looks like a meteor struck the earth and gouged out this massive scar. My friend was speechless as we descended into the gorge and spent several hours trying to cross it. Seeing is believing and my friend had a totally different view of climate change afterwards. There are thousands of these scars across Nepal and the Himalayas.”
All became the ultimate Hilltopper recently when he reached the summit of Mount Everest. “I carried the WKU banner to the top of the highest place on Earth to inspire our students and encourage them to actively explore the many possibilities that life holds for everyone. If a middle-aged professor can summit Mt. Everest, who knows what they can do!” he added. All, an avid climber of 15 years and an expert on climate change, documented his climb of the North Ridge Route on Mount Everest - the passage first attempted by ill-fated British explorer George Mallory - and kept a journal of the experience.
Read articles on John All's summit, including excerpts from his journal:
WKU professor on top of the world, At-WKU, 6/21/10
WKU prof scales Everest, BG Daily News, 6/13/10