The first of Iceland’s 400 glaciers to be lost to the climate crisis will be remembered with a memorial plaque – and a sombre warning for the future – to be unveiled by scientists and local people next month.
The former Okjökull glacier, which a century ago covered 15 sq km (5.8 sq miles) of mountainside in western Iceland and measured 50 metres thick, has shrunk to barely 1 sq km of ice less than 15 metres deep and lost its status as a glacier.
Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, a leading Icelandic author, Andri Snær Magnason, and the geologist Oddur Sigurðsson will lead the unveiling ceremony at the site in Borgarfjörður on 18 August, local media said.
“In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path,” the plaque reads, in Icelandic and English. “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”
“An Icelandic colleague said: ‘Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,’” Howe said. “We want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late.”
I want to put a sign in my property for any future buyer that would want to put a housing subdivision on it. They would have to fill ponds and cut fruit producing trees. It would not be as nice as that one.