Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

250 People Attend Funeral for 'Death' of Swiss Alps Glacier

Climate
People take part in a ceremony to mark the 'death' of the Pizol glacier on Sept. 22. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

Hundreds of activists gathered in the Swiss Alps on Sunday to mourn the loss of Pizol, a glacier that has steadily retreated over the last decade as temperatures have warmed the mountain tops, according to CNN.


More than 250 people donned black funeral clothes, including hats and lace veils, and climbed to a spot over 8,500 feet above sea level to say goodbye to Pizol in the Glarus Alps, in the eastern part of Switzerland near the border with Austria.

"I have climbed up here countless times," said Matthias Huss, a glacier expert at ETH Zurich university who attended. "It is like the dying of a good friend."

The glacier, which has been monitored since 1893 will be the first to be taken off the Swiss glacier surveillance network, since it has lost 80 to 90 percent of its volume since 2006. It now contains less than 26,000 meters of ice, which is smaller than four football fields, according to Huss, as CNN reported.

"Pizol glacier has disappeared," Huss told CNN. "There will be some snow left, but the glacier is no more."

Pizol has "lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," said Alessandra Degiacomi of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, as The Independent reported.

A local priest gave a speech to commemorate the lost glacier.

While the Pizol glacier may be lost to the annals of history, the funeral attendees hope they can draw attention to other glaciers that are retreating, but may still be saved.

"We can basically not save this glacier, this glacier is a symbol that glaciers are disappearing, that the ice is melting in the Alps," said Huss in a Reuters video. "We cannot save this glacier but there are many other glaciers that we can potentially save by protecting the climate, the bigger glaciers can still be saved, but also in a smaller size."

Pizol is just one casualty in a climate crisis that has the potential of drastically altering the Swiss Alps. In one study earlier this year, ETH Zurich researchers estimated that 90 percent of alpine glaciers will vanish if we continue along the current pace of greenhouse gas emissions, as Deutsche Welle reported.

Pizol is not the first glacier in the Swiss Alps to melt into extinction. In fact, Huss estimated that more than 500 glaciers have melted since 1850, including 50 that were named. What sets Pizol apart is it is the first Swiss glacier to disappear that has been so thoroughly studied, according to Deutsche Welle.

"If Pizol goes, this is a warning sign. This is what is going to happen if we don't change something about our behavior," Degiacomi told CNN.

She added that the Swiss Association for Climate Protection had obtained 120,000 signatures, crossing the 100,000-requirement threshold, to launch a popular initiative demanding that Switzerland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Switzerland, which is a direct democracy, will now have to put the carbon neutral initiative on an upcoming ballot.

"We can't save the Pizol glacier anymore," said Huss, as The Independent reported. "[But] let's do everything we can, so that we can show our children and grandchildren a glacier here in Switzerland a hundred years from now."

The funeral for Pizol follows the plaque ceremony scientists participated in to memorialize Okjökull last month, the first Icelandic glacier lost to the climate crisis, as EcoWatch reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A pangolin at a rescue center in Cambodia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Malavika Vyawahare

China has banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed more than 2,700 lives and infected more than 81,000 people, most of them in China, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Read More
A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

Read More
Sponsored
White gold man-made diamond solitaire engagement ring. Clean Origin

While keeping track of the new trends in the diamond industry can be hard, it is still an essential task of any savvy consumer or industry observer. Whether you are looking to catch a deal on your next diamond purchase or researching the pros and cons of an investment within the diamond industry, keeping up with the trends is imperative.

Read More
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (C) chants with housing and environmental advocates before a news conference to introduce legislation to transform public housing as part of her Green New Deal outside the U.S. Capitol Nov. 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to chide Republicans for not reading the Green New Deal, which she introduced over one year ago, as The Hill reported. She then read the entire 14-page document into the congressional record.

Read More
Anti Ivan Duque's demonstrator is seen holding a placard with the photos of social leader Alirio Sánchez Sánchez and the indigenous Hector Janer Latín, both killed in Cauca, Colombia during a protest against Ivan Duque visit in London which included a meeting about fracking, environmental issues, the peace process implementation, and questioning the risk that social leaders in Colombia face. Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Colombia was the most dangerous nation in 2019 to be an environmental activist and experts suspect that conditions will only get worse.

Read More