Anyone doubting climate change should visit Greenland, something I decided to do and see first-hand since I was close by in Iceland. Flying in to land in Kulusuk airport, built by the U.S. military in WWII, one sees more brown mountains with patches of snow that were once glaciers, than glaciers — with floating icebergs slowly drifting away. It reminded me of flying into Prescott, Arizona in the winter, but on a much larger scale.
Greenland’s landscapes are alive and ever-changing as the glacial ice is in a constant battle for survival. The ice is retreating but it is not leaving quietly. In the summer, the constant calving of the region’s landlocked and fjord glaciers can be heard for miles away. When close by, the echoes of the loud cracks and collapsing ice are so clear that they cannot be ignored.
The sheer scale of the glaciers that have not melted and the intricate and unique details of the glacial sediment and the bright blue ice cracks brought to light by the sun is a mind-blowing visual feast!
The glaciers are one of nature’s most beautiful and impressive creations. Due to the increasing temperatures in the Arctic, the icebergs calving off the Greenland icecap have been particularly large in recent years and, much like snowflakes, no two icebergs are the same, making them truly unique.
On the flight there I met Iris, a despairing climatologist from Austria, who was going back to Greenland to measure the increasing levels of greenhouse gases.
“It’s depressing and shameful,” summed up her professional opinion about climate change and what was happening in Greenland.
Greenland’s ice is melting faster than it has in 350 years because of greenhouse gases.
In the Norse saga, it is said that Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He settled in a land Northwest of Iceland covered in ice and glaciers and named it Greenland to attract people to settle there.
“You Americans and Chinese should be exiled to Greenland for murder of the environment,” I was told by Hauker, an Icelandic glass mate I met at the bar at the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel. We were exchanging pleasantries and discussing the history and current state-of-affairs in Greenland until I introduced myself as an American political writer living in Hong Kong. He is right.
As global warming temperatures melt Greenland’s ice sheets, glaciers and its Arctic ice caps and permafrost are thawing at unprecedented depths, a small army of deadly microbes — dormant in some cases for millennia — are being reanimated and could rise from the slush to infect humanity. These include anthrax, small pox, bubonic plague and any other number of deadly diseases trapped in the permafrost and ice.
“Deadly Spanish Influenza as well,” Dr. Colin Johnston, an Ayr physician and friend with whom I shared my concerns when we caught up back in Scotland, told me.
“When it was discovered that people on a ship from Spain or Europe, on its way to America back in the 1920’s, died of Spanish Influenza, they were buried in the permafrost off Greenland,” Dr. Johnston told me as I listened in disbelief.
Spanish Influenza was an unusually deadly flu pandemic — the deadliest in history — that infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide between 1918-1920, about a third of the planets population. It killed an estimated 20-50 million people, including 675,000 Americans. A death toll far worse than the bubonic plague. It was the first of two pandemics involving the H1N1 influenza virus.
An international group of researchers, including pathologists, virologists, molecular biologists, geologists and archeologists are carefully exhuming seven bodies found in a mass grave encased in a tomb of ice in Norwegian permafrost in the islands of Spitsbergen in the high Arctic between Norway and Greenland, to determine what caused the contagion.
Greenland’s ice is melting fast and releasing toxic fumes and deadly microbes.
Wake up climate change deniers, before it is too late!