Saturday 17 August 2019

Not Ok on Iceland - The Vanished Past and a Letter to the Future

Okjokull sat atop the volcano Ok northeast of
the Icelandic capital Reykjavik (Josh Okun)
There was a glacier on the slopes of a volcano northeast of Reykjavik in Iceland that has totally disappeared in the last five years due to environmental change. A plaque has been erected on its site (Toby Luckhurst, 'Iceland's Okjokull glacier commemorated with plaque',  BBC News 18th August 2019).
A Letter to the Future
Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier. 
In the next 200 years all our main 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.
The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally - 415 parts per million (ppm).
 "You think in a different time scale when you're writing in copper rather than in paper," Mr Magnason told the BBC. "You start to think that someone actually is coming there in 300 years reading it. 

Oddur Sigurdsson, glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office points out that as part of the landscape
Glaciers have great cultural significance in Iceland and beyond. [...] "The world that we learned how it was, learned by heart as some kind of eternal fact, is not a fact any more." [...] "The oldest Icelandic glaciers contain the entire history of the Icelandic nation," he added. "We need to retrieve that history before they disappear".
and here we think of Oetzi and other finds preserved in permafrost across the globe.

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