Sighting the icebergs

Tags: Francesca Galeazzi

Despite having known from long time that I was taking part to this exceptional voyage, it didn’t feel quite real until I met the rest of the group at the airport, all geared up, enthusiastic and probably a bit nervous. It was really hard to imagine what it was going to be like spending 10 days with such an eclectic mix of artists and scientists. What was clear from the beginning though, was the positive energy end enthusiasm of the group, the sense of urgency and ‘mission’ that everybody shared, and the spontaneous discussions on climate change and politics that sparked at any occasion.

Actually, the fact that we were going right into the Arctic Circle became a tangible reality when we saw the icebergs for the first time off the coast of East Greenland from the flight to Kangerlussuac. Initially it was a solitary iceberg glowing in the middle of an opaque emerald sea, but then it became ten, then hundred, and then – approaching the coast – the whole coast was covered by icebergs and floating ice sheets, just born off the rugged edges of impressive glaciers. The glaciers were marked by serpentine-like rivers of melting fresh water that, from the distance, looked like hopeless roads to nowhere (not to be confused with bridges to nowhere!). The sight of the icebergs generated such excitement on board of the Fokker 50 that, like a group of kids taken for their first school trip, we found ourselves leaning on one side of the plane looking down to the magnificent and gloomy display of global warming taking place. The glaciers are melting and, in doing so, create a multitude of massive icebergs. In the afternoon we would have learned from the scientists on board that the reduction of the ice shelf in Greenland has been so dramatic in the last few years that the pace of melting has already met the worse predictions made by IPCC for 2050!
Something must be done to stop this. And fast.