That was pretty much my viewpoint until I paddled to this inlet. During the canoe trip, our guide led us to the base of the glacier, or at least as close as he could without us getting smashed by calving ice. He then proceeded to stretch out his arms so wide I thought he would fall off his canoe.
"See that there glacier?" he said. "It used to fill up several more miles of this cove. This was only ten years ago. Don't believe me? I have pictures as proof."
He then proceeded to fall from his canoe and into the water. Just kidding. But the part about the glacier filling many more miles is true. While one degree may not seem like a big difference to us, it can have an alarming effect on the glaciers.
All throughout my trip to Alaska I kept on hearing the same thing: "This glacier used to be miles bigger, but recent warming has caused it to retreat." I remember looking at the tiny U-shaped valleys so common in Alaska, and seeing only bare rock instead of shining white snow. A couple miles of retreat may not seem like a lot, but when you'e standing on naked grey rock, looking at a tiny sliver of ice peeking over the mountain where there used to be thousands of pounds of compressed snow slinking down the mountainside, you realize just how dangerous global warming is to the environment. And scientists warn that this trend isn't going away any time soon. With many countries rapidly growing more and more industrialized, carbon dioxide emissions don't show signs of decreasing.
You may be groaning and thinking "I've heard this stuff before. So what". It's true, we've already heard a lot about climate change. But many of us don't understand just how dire the situation is.
We can already feel the effects of climate change. In my hometown, we would usually get half a foot of snow by this time. Now, we haven't even gotten half a centimeter. It may be that, soon, we really do only dream of a white Christmas. Hurricanes have gotten bigger, sea levels are rising, and glaciers continue melting like dripping summer Popsicle's.
It isn't too late though. Climate change had only recently started to pick up speed. But we must work together to help end it. We all know about turning off lights after leaving the room, switching to solar panels, and using public transportation instead of cars, but it's time we started doing these things instead of making excuses. Even I'm guilty of this. Together, we were able to save the pandas. Now it may be time to save the glaciers, so that our Christmases may really stay white instead green. Only by joining together as one planet can we slow this rising warming trend.
**What are your opinions on global warming? Click on the post title, scroll down, and comment below. Your email address stays private, it's just to prevent spam. Promise.
***Kind of unrelated, but regardless of what you celebrate I hope everybody has a nice winter holiday!