Okjokull: Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

21 Août, 2019, 00:45 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • August 2019

Environmentalists in Iceland have laid a commemorative plaque on the site of a Glacier that has been declared "dead" in as a warning to the world about climate change.

Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland.

This NASA handout image taken on September 7, 1986 shows the Okjökull glacier atop the Ok Volcano in Iceland. Scientists warn that about 400 other glaciers on the island are threatened by the same fate.

It unveiled a bronze plaque as a tombstone that bears the inscription "A letter to the future" as its title, a grim reminder of what human activity and climate change are doing the world.

This was Iceland's first glacier to disappear, but Dr Sigurdsson said all of the nation's ice masses would be gone in 200 years. With this monument, we acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. "Only you know if we did it." the plaque reads.

In addition to that scary message, it also notes the current level of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so that generations in the future have a reference point to look back on.

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Cymene Howe, a professor of anthropology at Rice Univeristy, said to the AFP in July, that memorials stand for human accomplishments and losses we recognise as important, so why not natural events? The country is losing approximately 11 billion tons of ice per year.

"By memorializing a fallen glacier, we want to emphasize what is being lost - or dying - the world over, and also draw attention to the fact that this is something that humans have 'accomplished, ' although it is not something we should be proud of", Howe said.

Okjokull used to span a massive 15 square kilometres and provided pure drinking water to local residents before its death.

One of the mourners was 17-year-old Gunnhildur Hallgrimsdottir.

"The conversation about climate change can be very abstract, with many devastating statistics and sophisticated scientific models that may feel incomprehensible".

If current global warming trends continue, melting glaciers will cause sea levels to rise.

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