Researchers and officials gathered in Iceland to hold a funeral for the fist of what will likely be many farewells. They got together to hold its first funeral at the site of their first glacier lost to climate change.
These satellite images show the shrinking from 1986 to today.
Over 100 people hiked the site of the once-iconic Okjökull glacier, including Iceland’s prime minister and other leaders.
The hiked it to memorialize the frozen body that once spanned 15 square miles before melting into a lake.
They also hiked it to install a message to the future:
“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier,” the plaque presented Sunday reads in English and Icelandic. “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.”
“The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action,” former Irish president Mary Robinson said Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
“We see the consequences of the climate crisis,” Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said. “We have no time to lose.”
This was Iceland’s first glacier to disappear. But Sigurdsson said all of the nation’s ice masses will be gone in 200 years.
“Large and small nations, businesses and governments, individuals and communities, we must all play our part,” Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, said in an op-ed published in the New York Times. “We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Help us keep the ice in Iceland.”