I was born in the family of 15,000 Himalayan Glaciers. Today, I am 1,000 years old. I guess so. I am not so sure for I have lost count. Over the years, instead of growing I have found myself rather shrinking. Age catches up. Or is there more?
(Environmental lecturer Michael Nolan captured the image on a trip to Norway in July while he was observing the ice-shelf, Austfonna, which is shrinking by almost 50m each year)
Inch by inch, I am shrinking. What is it that makes me smaller every year? I am in a state of limbo. It gives me chills when I think about disappearing from the face of mother earth.
Decades ago, I never felt the heat that I am experiencing today. It’s not very hot but it is enough to melt me. Recently, I have seen many humans around me. I think they are trying to find the answers to my questions. They come here often, always measure my length and depth. I think they have the answers.
My cousins are also shrinking and I guess it runs in the family. One day, a group of climate experts as they call themselves came toward me. They were carrying different types of equipment. Some of them hit hard on me and dug a hole. They were measuring my height and length. I remember back in the 1960’s a team also did the same thing.
And there was this old man. He was also in the team that came here long before. After they finished what they were doing, he stopped, took a long breath and said: “It is melting. The temperature of the area has also increased,” he said with a long gasp of air.
It was then I realized that the climate was changing and it was due to this that I was melting. I don’t want to. I have been here since the Himalayans were formed millions of years ago.
That night the sky was clear, I could see stars twinkling all over. I could feel the cool breeze like the icy death was fast approaching me. I couldn’t sleep that night.
Recently, I have been spotting humans in large numbers every year. It seems they are trying to get the stored water out and release it.
I heard there are humans living way below and these lakes as they call it might kill them if it bursts. I live with constant fear, a fear that I will kill thousands downstream.
But I am not what they think I am. Not a single day goes by when I think of the humans that live downstream. I feel this is why they come here every year and start releasing the stored water.
A few years back, I overheard one of my sisters saying that the United Nations’ climate science experts claimed that our race in will be extinct by 2035. It was a sad moment. All we could do was pray that the end wasn’t here.
And yes! Our prayers were answered.
The claim that the so called climate experts made were all wrong. But deep inside I still feel that I along with my family members will soon fade away from the face of mother earth.