“By all means, move at a glacial pace, you know how that thrills me.” – Miranda Priestley. Iconic.
Glaciers do in fact, move at a glacial pace. They are also constantly changing.
As new snow falls, pellets are formed. The pellets compress and become one block. These layers of grainy ice build on top of each other as years go by, and eventually become one enormous mass of solid ice. A glacier is established. It becomes so heavy, it starts to move under its own weight.
They shift slowly from only centimeters up to 50 meters a day. This is a natural behavior. Melting is also something NATURAL for glaciers and is supposed to be counterbalanced by falling snow. However, something UNNATURAL is the rate at which climate change is melting the glaciers (faster than they can keep up with).
While hiking through Iceland’s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull, I learned a sobering fact: In order to be considered a glacier, a mass of ice must meet certain classifying criteria, and sadly, Okjökull, (West Iceland) lost its glacier title in 2014 due to its decline in size. It is now simply known as “Ok” since (the Icelandic word for glacier is jökull). You can actually walk this area nowadays with a regular pair of hiking boots. No crampons. No ice axe needed.
So there it is. Concrete proof of the impact of global warming and climate change. Proof that our future generations might never get to be in the presence of these powerful and valuable ice rivers.
It has been predicted that all glaciers in Iceland will be gone by 2200. This makes my heart sick.
If I had children, I would want them to experience what I did. I would want them to breathe that cold, crisp, pure air. I would want them to taste and crunch on that 1,000 year old ice like I did. I would want them to feel exhausted because the hike around the glacier tongue was so long.
Apart from just being something to marvel at, glaciers are a VITAL to our survival. As the melting of our glaciers occurs, several parts of our ecosystem could suffer from the following:
- Water flowing to the sea and ocean water warming, expanding in volume.
- Sea levels rising, causing an impact to coastlines. (Land eroding and sinking)
- The influx of fresh water into the oceans, threatening the life of corals and fish.
- The potential shut down of some major ocean currents.
Most of us haven’t witnessed the effects of climate change firsthand, but in a short amount of time each one of us will, that is, if we don’t unlearn the practices that we have adopted.
WE? Yes, WE have put ourselves in this dangerous situation. We have abused of natural resources. We have become dependent on the burning of fossil fuels in order to maintain our lifestyle.
“Well what does this have to do with ME? I’m only ONE of billions of people. What am I supposed to do?” “There is no way I can make a difference.”
The truth is that you CAN make a difference. Not only by individual actions, but by the collective movement that can result from them. When you make changes, people start to notice. Maybe you start reducing your use of plastic. Maybe you reduce your meat consumption or adopt a plant-based diet. Your friends and family start to ask why. Without even trying, you’re creating awareness.
“Well people don’t care. Why bother. ” Honestly, I don’t think the issue here is that some people don’t care. Its more like they don’t know. It’s true- we live a high-pace life, we all have day jobs, we have families to take care of, things to do, places to be. Environmental matters are among the furthest things back in people’s minds. But I bet that if people knew the reality of our planet’s course, they too, would want to act.
We have the potential slow down the fast deterioration of our planet, maybe even reverse part of the damage that has been made.
If we were to adopt solutions such as more renewable energy, more efficient transportation choices, practice recycling and composting, change our agricultural practices, then we could put ourselves on a healthier environmental path.
But for this to happen, we need to have resolution, we need to have drive, and we HAVE to get out of our comfort zone. Its easy. Let’s start today. Not only for ourselves but so that future generations may have a chance.
Let it never be said “Why didn’t they do something about it when they could?”
The Big Blue Marvel