Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Olafur Eliasson on the Iceland Glacier

Hi everyone. Olafur asked me to spread the word so here we go: 

On Sunday, we are mourning the passing of a glacier in a ceremony of commemoration unlike any in human history. The glacier, situated north-east of Reykjavik, was known as OK, and it has melted away and is no more. This is a tragic event, not just for my fellow Icelanders, but for the entire world. Something that seemed eternal has vanished for ever – as a result of human activity and inaction.  

A plaque at the site will mark this point in time. It sounds a warning, and is a call to arms, to every human being on this planet. Andri Snær Magnason, the Icelandic writer, conceived the inscription around a question to future generations: “We know what is happening and what needs to be done,” he wrote. “Only you know if we did it.”

The poignancy of this moment must not go to waste. On Monday, the prime ministers of the Nordic countries will gather in Iceland for their annual meeting, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as their guest. Climate change is on the agenda. There could hardly be a more appropriate moment to take the words on the plaque to heart. To show their recognition of the gravity of the situation, the Nordic countries must jointly declare a climate emergency.

The Nordic countries have powerful shared traditions and values – of democracy, social welfare, and culture. They are all striving to shape a strong environmental profile that combines not only giving up some goods and services that we have come to take for granted, but also enacting progressive policies that encourage investment in the green innovations that will contribute to our continued prosperity.

On this sad occasion, I call on the Nordic prime ministers – Mette Frederiksen (DK), Stefan Löfven (SE), Erna Solberg (NO), Katrín Jakobsdóttir (IS), Antti Rinne (FI), Aksel V. Johannesen (Faroe Islands), Kim Kielsen (Greenland), and Katrin Sjögren (Åland) – to act. They have a moral responsibility towards the future generations of the countries they represent. They also have an opportunity to forge a coalition that will show the leadership on climate change so badly needed in the world today.

Every glacier lost reflects our inaction. Every glacier saved will be a testament to the moral courage and sense of purpose that we can muster in the face of this emergency. One day, instead of mourning the loss of more glaciers, we must be able to stand tall in celebration of their survival.

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