Adieu Okjokull – The First Funeral of a Glacier

“A letter to the future,

Ok 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.

This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

Engraved on a bronze plaque, this message lies on the remains of the Icelandic glacier Okjokull making it the first glacier lost by the Earth.

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The oldest available information about Okjokull records in 1890 as a fresh glacier and by 1901 it had been spanned in a wide area of 38 square kilometres. Little the glaciologists knew that Okjokull will disappear forever by 2019. Gloomy and icy cold weather conveyed the sorrow of mother Earth on the 18th of August 2019 declaring the death of Okjokull to the world. Hundreds of mourning  geologists and environmentalists around the world including the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir , Former UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson and Dr. Julian Wheesly, an Aerodynamicist of the university of Berlin gathered around the remains of Okjokull to bade the commemoration.

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By addressing the gathering, Dr. Cymene Howe, associate professor of anthropology at Rice University in Texas highlighted that the aim of this funeral is to remind the world about the natural environment which is being lost by us in form of many disasters. The immediate reason for this loss is due to the climate changes caused by  excessive emission of green house gases. Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrogen Oxide, chlorofluorocarbon, and vapor are considered to be green house gases. These gases contribute in safeguarding the Ozone layer by absorbing the infrared rays and maintaining optimum temperature on the crust of the Earth. However, lately the emission rate of these green house gases has increased due to human activities such as excessive usage of fossil fuels,  increased use in bio gases and irregular agricultural activities and also the natural causes such as movements in continental plates, eruption of volcanoes. This excessive emission has caused abnormal increment in the surface temperature of the Earth which eventually heads towards global warming. Thus it is proven that the environment is an interconnected system, a change in one factor affects the existence of all the other factors.

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Glaciers are regarded as the Earth’s most pure water storages and also the deposits of ancient testimonies. Global warming has directed these glaciers to disappear not only in Iceland but also in Himachal, Antarctica too.This disaster will eventually result the loss in consumable water to those areas while dragging Islands to danger of sea flood and disappearance due to increment in marine water level.4

This pathetic situation is an early warning alarm for the entire cosmos and immediate action has to be taken  by each and everyone of us before it’s too late.

 

Written by –  Rtr. Hansi Edirisinghe

Co-editor 2019/20

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