The Sherpas’ Guide to Ethical Behavior
NEPAL – The recent death of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche on Mount Everest has brought inconsolable grief to their loved ones. Unfortunately, the pain of their loss will be compounded by economic hardship, highlighting the responsibility that rich-country consumers often must bear, both before and after such workplace catastrophes in developing countries.
The death toll in Everest’s worst-ever disaster was small compared, for example, to last year’s collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers. But the consequences for the victims’ families are similar, and the lessons are the same – a need for sweeping changes in attitudes and behavior among all involved.
While climbing the world’s highest mountain will always be dangerous, we must remember that on this occasion only Sherpas died, and in the years since Everest began attracting large inflows of Western climbers, Sherpas have accounted for most fatalities.