About a decade ago, someone posted a video to YouTube showing a group of people supposedly from Earth First! crying uncontrollably over trees that had fallen in a forest. The video was so over-the-top and hit so many stereotypes that it seemed unreal.
But over the weekend, nearly 250 people hiked up to what remains of Pizol glacier to mourn its melting due to climate change, according to CNN (the BBC said the number was in the “dozens”).
Many hikers — a predominantly white group — wore all black to mourn the “death” of the Pizol glacier in the Swiss Alps. Some even wore veils. The glacier’s remains sit at an altitude of 8,850 ft and are near the borders to Liechtenstein and Austria.
The BBC reported that the glacier is part of the Glarus Alps in northeastern Switzerland and has “lost at least 80% of its volume just since 2006, a trend accelerated by rising global temperatures.” Matthias Huss, a glacier specialist at ETH Zurich University, told CNN that the Pizol’s reduction has left behind 26,000 square meters of ice, the equivalent of less than four football fields.
“There are several small pieces of ice lying around, but these pieces are increasingly being covered by rock debris from the mountain. But given what is left of it, we will no longer term it a glacier in scientific terms,” Huss told the outlet.
Alessandra Degiacomi, the coordinator for the Swiss Association for Climate Protection who organized Sunday’s funeral, added that “80% of the glaciers in Switzerland are more or less the same size as Pizol,” and that if Pizol disappears it will be a “warning sign” for the rest of the world. She also said that her organization’s aim is “to have a CO2 neutral Switzerland from 2050.”
“We want to decarbonize the country,” she said.
Plants need CO2 to survive.
Activists said the Pizol can no longer be considered a glacier due to its reduced size. The mourners declared it dead at their ceremony on Sunday. More from the BBC:
At the ceremony, sombre speeches were to be delivered by a chaplain and scientists and a wreath was to be laid in remembrance of the glacier.
The event was organised by the Swiss Association for Climate Protection (SACP), an initiative calling for carbon dioxide emissions in Switzerland to be reduced to zero by 2050.
A similar ceremony was held in Iceland last month to commemorate Okjokull, a 700-year-old glacier declared dead in 2014.
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Switzerland is capitalizing on its melting glaciers. The outlet reported that the Alps “have more glaciers than any other part of Europe” and that “Switzerland has the most” of these glaciers. The country is using the meltwater from the glaciers as hydropower to provide the country 60% of its electricity. The country is currently benefiting from the melting of glaciers, but that may not last forever if climate alarmist predictions are correct and the glaciers melt away within the next century.