In a historic first, Iceland held a funeral for its first glacier lost to climate change.
Officials, researchers, and locals gathered at the site where the country lost its first glacier. Sadly, it won’t be the only funeral as experts warn the island nation will be losing a lot more glaciers in the years to come.
The glacier melted owing to the unprecedented increase in the global mean temperature.
Scores of people, including politicians and the country’s prime minister, hiked to the spot where the iconic Okjökull glacier spanning 15 square miles stood once.
Okjökull was officially declared dead back in 2014 when it melted into a lake.
The group installed a plaque at the site of the glacier to memorialize the frozen body. The plaque carried a powerful message to the future in both English and Icelandic languages.
“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier,” it read.
“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.”
Former Irish president Mary Robinson said in a statement: “The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action,” the Associated Press reported.
Iceland contains huge masses of ice, which currently covers around 10 per cent of its surface.
However, the sheer existence of ice in the country is in danger, thanks to a myriad of factors.
With rising global temperatures due to the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, glaciers around the world are melting at an alarming rate.
Okjökull’s funeral comes just after it was revealed that July was the hottest month ever recorded on the planet.
Scientists recently confirmed that a massive ice sheet covering Greenland experienced a “major melting event” that led to the melting of billions of tons of ice.
In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, said: “Large and small nations, businesses and governments, individuals and communities, we must all play our part. We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Help us keep the ice in Iceland.”