I am so glad you got to see this glacier.
Isn’t it beautiful?
It has been here a very long time. It was here way before you were born and even long before Grandma and Grandpa were born. It is very old. In fact, this glacier was formed between 238,000 to 126,000 BC! ¹
You see, where you are standing is where the glacier used to be.
In fact, I came here to see the glacier when I was your age. But, the glacier I saw was so much bigger.
The glacier is disappearing.
The glacier is disappearing and I am not sure that it will be around when you have children. I am sorry to say but a lot of the glaciers around the world are. I wanted you to see a glacier and know what a glacier is before they are gone. I want you to be able to talk about them with your kids and your grandchildren.
Aren’t they just so beautiful?
Glaciers are not just beautiful but really cool too and I don’t just mean because it is made of snow.
A glacier is a body of thick ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. It forms over many years and even centuries after snow continues to build up after melting and re-freezing². Since it is constantly moving, people need to be very careful not to fall into big holes called crevasses when they walk across them. People do walk across them for fun but they do it with special equipment just to see how spectacular they are up close.
Glaciers also help us in a big way.
They provide people all across the world with freshwater to drink. Animals really love drinking glacier water too. It sure is neat, isn’t it sweetheart?! I am really so glad that you got to see this glacier.
Why? Because it is disappearing.
I wish I could say that it was disappearing slowly but unfortunately it is disappearing really quickly. In fact it is about 1 km smaller than it was when I saw it as a child. And my dear, it is not the only one that is disappearing quickly.
Most of the glaciers are and it is not very good.
I am sorry to tell you but the melting glaciers are causing more freshwater to go into the ocean. The extra freshwater is harmful to some of the beautiful coral that lives there². There are also animals and plants that will suffer from not having enough fresh water and I just hope that your future children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have enough fresh water to drink.
The glacier’s melting so fast and I am sad to say that it is not all natural.
Scientists say it is melting faster than it should because of climate change and all the pollutants in the air. I would like to say that the world is trying to change and be better but I’m not sure if it is.
I love your little heart and that you want to keep the world clean and green. I do too and we will try our best to do our part. I want you to know that people are fighting for your future and your children’s future. But it just might not be good enough.
I know it’s hard to understand and I find it hard to understand myself.
And so… I’m glad I got to share this glacier with you. That might be the best that I can do and I know it is not good enough. But my dear, we will try.
I am so glad you got to see this glacier before it’s gone.
- Wikipedia. (2017) “Columbia Icefield.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Icefield
- West, Kara. Evers, Jeannie. Editing, Emdash (Editors). (2011) “Glacier.” National Geographic Society. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/glacier/