Dr. Cymene Howe Documents Loss of 700 Year Old Okjokull Glacier in Iceland

Departmental News

Posted:  Oct 08, 2019 - 12:00pm

Anthropologists Dr. Cymene Howe (UNM Alumn) and Dr. Dominic Boyer from Rice University in Texas made a documentary in 2018 about the loss of the 700 Okjokull Glacier  called Not Ok and came up with the idea of a memorial during filming.

"Here was this really important story about this glacier that tells us something about the catastrophic changes we're seeing all around glacial basins everywhere on the planet and yet the story wasn't very well known," Dr Howe told the BBC. "So part of the reason we wanted to make the movie was to get some more visibility for the phenomenon. And the plaque kind of followed in those footsteps."

"People felt this was a real loss, and that it deserved some kind of memorial," Dr Boyer said. "Plaques recognise things that humans have done, accomplishments, great events. The passing of a glacier is also a human accomplishment - if a very dubious one - in that it is anthropogenic climate change that drove this glacier to melt.

"It's not the first glacier in the world to melt - there have been many others, certainly many smaller glacial masses - but now that glaciers the size of Ok are beginning to disappear, it won't be long before the big glaciers, the ones whose names are well recognised, will come under threat."  Read the full article here