One hundred years ago, Icelandic glacier, Okjökull, was 50 meters thick and covered almost 6 square miles1. In 2014, it became the first glacier that Iceland has lost to climate change – but environmentalists are making sure that it will not be forgotten. Members of the Icelandic Hiking Society and researchers from Rice University are installing a monument to memorialize the glacier which will officially be unveiled next month2. The monument will include the plaque below which is “a letter to the future” in an effort to bring awareness to the time sensitive issue of climate change.
Sadly, all of Iceland’s glaciers are expected to disappear over the next 200 years, unless changes are made. As Rice University’s anthropologist Cymene Howe states, “With this memorial, we want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to collectively respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change.”3
As the first monument in the world to recognize a glacier lost to climate change, this effort will hopefully raise awareness of the planet’s current environmental situation. And although there is growing movement toward environmental sustainability, this plaque hopes to spark a higher sense of urgency for action that is required – and action that is required now.