Iceland creates memorial for first glacier lost due to climate change

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Iceland honoured the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, by building a commemorative monument for it.

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 is the first monument ever created for a glacier lost to climate change.

The message inscribed on the plaque is: “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. Only you know if we did it.” It is also labelled “415 ppm CO2,” which refers to the unprecedented and record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May.

Image Source: Handout via Rice University

The Okjokull glacier (which translated to ‘Ok glacier’) would span around 16 square kilometres once but is, shockingly, only a small patch today. It was stripped of its glacier status in 2014.

The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, along with hundreds of Icelanders.

The project to build the monument was initiated by Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer of Rice University in Texas, United States. They are also the producers of ‘Not Ok,’ a documentary on the Okjokull glacier.

Climate change is real and it needs to be acted upon immediately. Scientists predict that all of Iceland’s 400 glaciers will be lost to climate change in another 200 years.

Isn’t that shocking?

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