Approximately 100 people have hiked up a volcano in Iceland on Sunday to hold a funeral for the Okjokull glacier. The glacier was pronounced extinct back in 2014.
You know it’s time to worry when a country that has ice in its name starts to run out of… ice. That’s like sushi train running out of sushi, but instead of missing out on a plate of fish, we’re destroying the planet.
The farewell included political speeches, moments of silence and poetry readings as Icelandic officials and activists said their goodbyes to the first glacier to go extinct in Iceland as a result of climate change. This is truly terrifying stuff.
Okjokull used to span a massive 15 square kilometres and provided pure drinking water to local residents before its death. But now, the glacier is believed to take up less than 1 square kilometre, according to Icelandic geologist Oddur Sigurdsson,
“The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action,” said former Irish president Mary Robinson, who attended the farewell said. “We have no time to lose.”
In addition to the ceremony, children from the area also installed a plaque bearing a chilling message about 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.” the plaque reads.
The plaque also reads “415 ppm CO2”. This was the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere in May last year.
The 100 people who made the two-hour trek up the volcano were moved by the ceremony. People of all ages and backgrounds attended the event.
“Seeing a glacier disappear is something you can feel, you can understand it and it’s pretty visual,” Julien Weiss, a German aerodynamics professor who attended the ceremony said. “You don’t feel climate change daily, it’s something that happens very slowly on a human scale, but very quickly on a geological scale.”
“I know my grandchildren will ask me how this day was and why I didn’t do enough,” said Gunnhildur Hallgrimsdottir, a 17-year-old at the ceremony said.
Okjokull will now just be called “Ok”, without the Icelandic word for glacier, “jokull”.
By acknowledging and memorialising Okjokull, activists and scientists hope to draw attention to the ever-growing threat of climate change, and the impact that humans have had on the state of the planet.
The fact that we’re having funerals for glaciers because nobody cares enough about climate change is truly terrifying. Catch me crying in the corner about the state of the planet.