A Brief History
On August 18, 2019, about 100 environmentally concerned citizens, including government officials and activists, held a funeral for the Okjökull glacier in Iceland.
The glacier, a large landbound ice formation, once covered about 6 square miles, but had completely melted away, presumably due to global climate change. Located northeast of Reykjavík, the end of the glacier often called “the Ok glacier” actually came in 2014, so the 2019 funeral was perhaps a bit late.
The gone but not forgotten glacier is memorialized on a metal plaque placed in its honor that bears the inscription (in the English translation):
“A letter to the future
Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.
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 what needs to be done.
Only you know if we did it.”
Did you know? A songs and music about the glacier were actually produced, including “Story of Okjökull,” by Walter Jay White, among others!
Question for students (and subscribers): What other funerals for inanimate objects are you aware of? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Pogue, David. How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos. Simon & Schuster, 2021.
Steves, Rick. Rick Steves Iceland. Rick Steves, 2020.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Rice University of a plaque placed at the former location of the Icelandic Okjökull glacier, which disappeared due to climate change, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.