This article is maybe a little bit off topic, compared to my usual posts. But it is a matter that is important to me. Glaciers are melting much faster today than they were a hundred years ago. Temperatures across the globe have gone upward, helping the cause of ice glaciers melting faster than required. In certain places across the world, small ice glaciers have already vanished.
The magic of the glaciers
My parents told me that I have been running up mountains since I was a little child. According to them, I fell in love with the mountains after our trip to the Großglockner and the 9 km Pasterze, the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps with an area of 18.5 km² measuring 275 m at its thickest point. Will Harrison once said: “Glaciers are delicate and individual things, like humans. Instability is build into them.”
For me, glaciers have something magical. They look so majestic, shine extremely beautiful with their several layers of ice, are strong – and yet, somewhat vulnerable. Always changing. Let us cherish the glaciers while they are still here…
What can we do?
The structure of a glacier is constantly fluctuating. Melting is natural and is counteracted by falling snow that is compacted into ice and restores the surface area of the glacier. However, with global warming occurring at an unnatural rate, glaciers are melting much faster than they can be replenished. The only way to slow rapid glacial melting is to slow global warming.
Glaciers play a crucial role in the prevention of global warming, acting as giant mirrors, deflecting sunlight from the Earth’s surface back into the atmosphere and regulating the temperature of the planet. Runoff from glacial melting forms rivers that people around the world depend on for fresh water. Today in the Himalayas, people are facing water shortages due to decreased glacial melt.
Humankind has become dependent on the burning of fossil fuels to support our way of life, but it increases global warming at an unnatural rate. To restore the glaciers we need to utilize alternative energy sources, increase our energy efficiency and decrease our individual carbon footprints. (sources: sciencing.com and nationalgeographic.com)
For me as an outdoor girl, nature is the most precious thing we have. If you wanna feel rich, just get out there and count the things money cannot buy – just look at everything nature has to offer. Hence, every single one of us can do little things to decrease our own carbon footprint. Drive as little as possible or take public transportation. If you live in a city, share cars, ride your bike, walk or jog. Save power and energy at home, reduce your plastic waste, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, hang laundry outside to dry and unplug electronics when they are not being used. It is the little things that don’t really hurt us, if we change it. But it does hurt the glaciers, if we simply ignore it.
One of Germany’s last glaciers at the Zugspitze
A few months ago, I did a snowshoeing tour at the Zugspitze Glacier. At the Zugspitze visitors have the opportunity to experience one of Germany’s last glaciers at first hand. Where skiers make wide, arching turns in winter at the Zugspitze Plateau, is where you can leave your footprints in the eternal ice during a glacier walk in the summer months. The landscape-shaping natural forces of wind, rock, snow and sun can be felt everywhere.
The glacier walk is not always possible, but when it is, it takes about half an hour to walk over the Zugspitze Glacier to the „Windloch “ (Wind Hole) viewing platform. There you will be rewarded with fantastic views 2,000 metres down into the “Ehrwalder Basin”, the surrounding mountains and the entire Zugspitze Plateau. (source: zugspitze.de/en)
Let us all be a little less selfish every once in a while and stop taking everything for granted. And always remember: nature’s beauty is a gift!
photo credits: pexels.com, V’s World