Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Scientists Write Eulogy to Memorialize Glacier Lost to Climate Change

Climate
Text from the plaque that will mark the site where Ok glacier once was. Rice University

By Andrea Germanos

A climate change victim in Iceland is set to be memorialized with a monument that underscores the urgent crisis.


The victim is the former Okjökull glacier in Borgarfjörður, which scientists say is the nation's first glacier lost to the climate crisis. Its plight was also the subject of the 2018 documentary Not Ok produced by Rice University anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer.

Earther first reported on the plaque on Saturday.

The memorial monument will be installed during an Aug. 18 "un-glacier tour" and is entitled, A letter to the future. It was authored by Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason.

"Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose it status as a glacier," the text of the plaque reads. "In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path."

"This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done," it says. "Only you know if we did it."

The bottom of the plaque reads "August 2019, 415ppm CO2." Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit that threshold—for the first time ever in human history—in May.

In a press statement released Thursday, Howe spoke about the goal of the memorial.

"This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world," he said. "By marking Ok's passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth's glaciers expire. These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance."

Boyer also warned that Ok's "fate will be shared by all of Iceland's glaciers unless we act now to radically curtail greenhouse gas emissions."

Howe, in his statement, suggested the monument should be seen as a call-to-action.

"One of our Icelandic colleagues put it very wisely when he said, 'Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,'" Howe said. "With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change."

The movie, the website for the documentary says, "is not a tale of spectacular, collapsing ice. Instead, it is a little film about a small glacier on a low mountain—a mountain who has been observing humans for a long time and has a few things to say to us."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump first announces his proposed rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act in January. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump announced the final rollback of the "Magna Carta" of U.S. environmental laws on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less

Trending

White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less