Eco-photographer JC Pieri visits the Vatnajökull glacier.
I’ve visited over 50 countries in my life so far. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Iceland four times and Svalbard in Norway twice. I’ve been on a glacier every visit; I’m fascinated by the ice. I just love taking pictures of something so ephemeral – it’s ever-changing and that’s part of its beauty. Each photo is unique since when the ice melts it will reform in a different way. Sadly, because of global warming, the ice is melting at a rate which means the glaciers will not reform at the same rate in the winter.
We always talk about the glaciers melting but many people don’t get the chance to see a glacier up close. It’s a problem that doesn’t affect most people directly, so sometimes it can be difficult to understand and communicate the urgency of addressing the situation in a wider context.
We always talk about the glaciers melting but many people don’t get the chance to see a glacier up close. It’s a problem that doesn’t affect most people directly, so sometimes it can be difficult to understand and communicate the urgency of addressing the situation in a wider context.
To help give you a bit of background on the severity of the problem, on my second visit to Iceland in 2018 I met up with Snorri, a tour guide who’d taken me around an incredible ice cave on the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest and most voluminous glacier, two years earlier in 2016. As we were on Vatnajökull for the second time, he said: “Do you remember the ice cave we visited in 2016? You’re standing where it was right now.” It was a 200m cave and it had completely gone. All that remained were our crampon marks on the rocks. I couldn’t believe how much it had changed in just two years. It really shocked me. That was the moment I realised just how big of an issue global warming is.
“Sadly, because of global warming, the ice is melting at a rate which means the glaciers will not reform at the same rate in the winter.”
I think the majority of people are aware of the problem today and would like to help in some way, but unfortunately people in positions of power need to enforce real change to curb global warming. Many of us will reuse and recycle, and/or try to eat less meat. These are, of course, positive small changes for the planet, but these changes aren’t enough. We can and should all unite to say we expect better, but governments hold the real power to make a difference. Many countries are attempting to tackle the problem head on, particularly those who committed to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Iceland itself is aiming to meet its Paris Agreement targets by 2030, along with its ambitious aim to be completely carbon neutral before 2040. Hopefully the rest of the world will take steps to help preserve both the glaciers and our globe, too.

5 GLACIER STATS

  1. 10% of land area on earth is covered with glacial ice
  2. Glaciers can currently be found in 47 countries
  3. Glaciers hold about 75% of the earth’s fresh water
  4. If all the world’s glaciers melted the sea level would rise by around 70 metres across the globe, which would put London underwater
  5. All of Iceland’s glaciers may be gone in less than a century if global warming continues at the current rate.*

*Source: World Wildlife Foundation

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