Icelanders Mourn Loss of Okjökull Glacier With Ceremony, Plaque

Icelanders Mourn Loss of Okjökull Glacier With Ceremony, Plaque
August 19 11:09 2019 Print This Article

GIZMODO – Tom McKay, 19 August 2019 – Politicians, scientists, and others gathered in Borgarfjörður, Iceland, northeast of Reykjavik on Sunday to mourn the loss of the Okjökull glacier, laying a plaque warning of the impact of climate change, the BBC reported.

Okjökull, along with many other Icelandic glaciers, took serious hits from warming summers over the past two decades. It was officially declared inactive by glaciologist Oddur Sigurðsson in 2014, when he discovered that snow was melting before it could accumulate on the cap, and there was no longer enough pressure being built up to keep the glacier moving.

At that point, the word jökull (meaning glacier or ice cap) was eliminated from its name, leaving the site formally designated by the name of the shield volcano it was located on, Ok. According to Slate, Rice University anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer were disturbed to see that the elimination of the glacier was almost entirely ignored in the English-language news media, filming a documentary titled Not Ok and later concluding the glacier’s demise should be commemorated.

Attendees at the event included Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, and former Irish President Mary Robinson, according to the BBC. The plaque itself reads, in both English and Icelandic:

“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as 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 know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.  August 2019 415ppm CO2

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