It begins with a crack in the formidable Patagonian glacier. A fissure appears as the ice shifts, slides, moves onward. Exposed beneath the white surface is the cool blue of ice, compressed over the years. Newly exposed, beaten by the sun, it begins to melt, the fissure widens, deepens. It happens quickly, without warning, no map, no way to know where to see such beauty. We walk the ice, trek the seracs looking for the birth of blue.
But, will we miss it?
The blue fades, retreats, pulls back from humanity. Its beauty lost to the generations that come. Photographs remind us, but we can not touch the ice, feel the cool blueness, run out hands over the rough, wind pocketed outer-surface or slide between the icy peaks. The intricate beauty of abstract forms, of cracks in the ice, of water so cool, so clear, so pure, gone. Restricted to two-dimensional paper, bits and bytes of the computer. A grandness reduced to numbers, reduced to being filed away and a faded memory.
Water escapes us, we thirst. The glaciers that supplied our water and our lives are gone. Melted. Less snow, more heat, no accumulation, no rebirth. The fissure widens, deepens. But it is not the birth of blue that arrives. It is the death of the glacier. One crack at a time. It is the death of us. One drop of water at a time. Melting.
Yes. We will miss it.
The point and purpose of Blog Action Day 2009 is to bring awareness to climate change. With over 7,000 bloggers registered, the electric ether seeks to correct our ignorance and obstinacy. To keep us from ignoring the signs, from losing such integral parts of our planet as a glacier.
We will miss it.
When the glaciers are gone, we will miss them. For their beauty, for their water, for their climate control.
So what can we do before we miss it, before we miss our opportunity? December 7th, 2009 in Copenhagen many in the world, including some of our leaders will gather for the United Nations Climate Change Conference where they will be negotiating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is our opportunity.
Tell them we will miss it. The glacier. The water. The beauty.
I have no head for numbers. I see blue fields of ice, not the rate of retraction. I see awesome peaks of accumulated snow, not the decrease in precipitation. But after touching it and trekking it, I know I’ll miss it. But if you want the maps and percentages and the stuff that should give us all nightmares, download the Greenpeace Argentina report, Futuro Negro para los Glaciares (obviously written in Spanish).
And don’t miss it.
Below are a small selection of images I’ve taken throughout Patagonia. If just to remind you of the beauty we’d all miss.