In the year 2000, I became a father of the most beautiful girl in the world. At that time, there was a scientiÞc paper hitting the news predicting that the polar ice cap would likely cease to be permanent within 70 years. That is, if my daughter lived to be a grandmother, she would witness the polar ice vanish during the summer months—a profound geologic change, the likes of which has not occurred in the understood history of the human species. (Or its recent ancestors, for that matter.)
Pondering this, I made the foolish and rash decision to devote the rest of life, my professional career, to examining and trying to understand what that means, If my daughter was going to live through a time of induced geologic shift, what better way could I serve her than to devote myself to understanding, witnessing and participating in this grand global event? How many of us understand how profound a time it is that we are alive on the planet? How many of us understand how short and yet necessary our lives can be? How many see the sped up geology?
My daughter is now in 3rd grade. Next birthday she hits double digits. The published scientiÞc reports now predict that I will live to see the profound event that got me committed. Last I checked it was 40 years until the ice cap melted over summer. Over drinks the scientists admit to each other it is a fraction of that.
The sea ice is one thing. The glaciers are another. Already glaciers sacred to the indigenous cultures of the Bolivian Andes have fully vanished. Most of the rest will follow in short order, not to reappear in any human lifespan. There are practical implications, of course, water storage and reliability, for example. But there is also as wrenching an aesthetic loss. There is nothing quite like big, old ice. Whether it be glaciers of tens of thousands of years old frozen water, or the sea carved icebergs of their droppings, the loss of the aesthetics of the grand ice will be the thing I know I can’t stop, yet will witness, and lament, while I myself will drift to rain before it is all gone. Which makes me wonder, while we all scramble to look out for civilization, “Who will cry for the ice?...”
... On the other hand, who cares? I’m not going to give you some crap about how the melting ice represents the melting glaciers of our planet and the effects of global warming. The ice is not melting to motivate you to get off your ass and buy a hybrid, change your light bulbs, or stop fying in airplanes. God, what a bore. Not to mention a burden our collective creative imagination.
It’s just cool to see how it melts. It’s fun. That’s all.
– April, 2010