Iceland Holds Funeral For First Glacier Lost To Climate Change And Leaves A Chilling Message

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, World
Published 19.08.19

A funeral has been held for the first glacier in Iceland to be officially declassified as a glacier, owing to global warming.

As climate change worsens and people worry for the future and the state of the world we live in, it’s hard not to feel incredibly frustrated at the companies and governments doing very little to stop this.

A blanket ban on single-use plastics for consumer good would probably be quite hard to adapt to, but I imagine after some time people would find a way to transport drinking water and chicken breasts…


Obviously plastic’s not to blame for everything, but the production of it does use an awful lot of oil and energy, with the resulting product causing constant pollution to our seas and wildlife.

iceland glacier funeral

I’m very much a problem the field of meat consumption too, which famously contributes a staggering amount to climate change, so maybe some kind of limit of production or higher tax on meat products is necessary.

Regardless of all of the things that can be done, high-up figures persist to turn a blind eye, and in light of the first glacier in Iceland be be officially declassified as just that, the people of Iceland conducted a funeral.


100-or-so people walked up the mountain once covered by the Okjokull glacier in western Iceland for the ceremony, including the country’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, former UN human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, and local researchers who started the commemoration.

Prime Minister Jakobsdottir said of the event:

I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis.”


A plaque was placed on the site of the loss that read:

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.

An ironically quite chilling message.


According to Cymene Howe, associate professor of anthropology at Rice University in Texas, the plaque is the first in the world of its kind (i.e. one that commemorates the loss of a glacier to climate change). She went on to say:

By memorialising a fallen glacier, we want to emphasise what is being lost – or dying – the world over, and also draw attention to the fact that this is something that humans have ’accomplished’, although it is not something we should be proud of.”

Let’s hope that this can be a necessary wakeup call to those who can actually make a difference.

Images via Getty