In the “Land of Fire & Ice”, a funeral has been held for Okjökull glacier, which was pronounced extinct a decade ago, but now has an official death certificate for what has been called a “made-for-media memorial”.
Okjökull, which is now known as Ok, has officially died, and we are not ok.
Apparently though, you can now take a “Day Trip to a Dead Glacier”, so I guess someone profits off of all this in the end.
With poetry, moments of silence and political speeches about the urgent need to fight climate change, Icelandic officials, activists and others said their official goodbyes to what once was the beautiful glacier of Okjökull.
Iceland unveiled a plaque to its Okjökull ice glacier, the first of the country’s hundreds of glaciers to melt away due to climate change.
Around 100 people made a two-hour hike up a volcano, where children then installed a memorial plaque dedicated to the glacier, which is officially now called “Ok,” a removal of the Icelandic word for glacier.
The glacier used to stretch 15 square kilometres, and residents reminisced about drinking pure water thousands of years old from Ok.
According to scientists, this is only the beginning. There is already fear that Icelandic glaciers will disappear completely within the next two centuries. I suddenly feel weak.
“Ok (Okjokull) is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path,” said the inscription on the plaque written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, which also notes the level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
“We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,” said the inscription, directed towards future generations.
According to satellite images from the NASA Earth Observatory, the glacier appeared as a solid-white patch in 1986, but in an image from August 1 this year, only small dashes of white ice remained.
“There is no longer any doubt that the climate in the Arctic is changing markedly and rapidly,” said Minik Rosing, professor at the University of Copenhagen.
“All of the Nordic countries comprise Arctic territories, where climate change has gone from theoretical predictions of the future to everyday reality,” he said.
“The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action,” former Irish president Mary Robinson said.