Icelanders congregated to mourn the loss of the glacier Okjokull which was 700-years old. It was pronounced dead five years ago when it shrank into a small patch of ice, sitting on top of a volcano.
The Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdóttir and the Environment Minister, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson were joined by 100 mourners. They all spend two hours walking up to the top of the volcano.
Their children installed a plaque at the site to commemorate the former Okjokull Glacier.
Okjokull was Iceland’s first glacier and spanned over 6 square miles. The Prime Minister said there are many consequences brought on by climate change and said this is a warning that the loss of this glacier is just the beginning. Jakobsdóttir believes we have no time to waste.
According to Jakobsdóttir, Iceland’s glaciers and ice masses will disappear and melt away over the next 200 years if nothing is done about it.
She has chosen to make climate change top priority of her concerns and will discuss it at the meeting in Reykjavik with Nordic leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Glacier Death Certificate
The Icelandic geologist, Oddur Sigurðsson, who pronounced Okjokull dead in 2014, brought along a death certificate to the memorial. Jökull means glacier or ice cap in Nordic so with the loss of this glacier Okjokull is now just called Ok!
The plaque installed at the site shows the level of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide which should send a strong message around the world.
According to Cymene Howe, an associate professor of anthropology at Rice University in Texas, this is the first monument to acknowledge that we are aware of what is happening and what must be done to stop it.
By memorializing this glacier that disappeared, they want to emphasize what is actually being lost and dying all over the world. They want to draw attention to the fact that this is the work of human beings and we should not be proud of this fact.
Howe also said that Iceland loses approximately 11 billion tons of ice each year and scientists believe that Iceland’s other 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200.
Gunnhildur Hallgrimsdottir, a 17-year-old who was an attending mourner said that someday he will be asked by his grandchildren how this day ever came to pass and why I didn’t do enough.