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Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

INSIGHT: Can This Glacier Be Saved?

Peter Nicholson

Dialogue With Mountains I
The joke persists. "Better get there before the glaciers are gone!" Funny, sad, and true, it's exclaimed by almost everyone I tell about my trip to Glacier National Park. The shrinking ice masses are predicted to disappear by 2020; climate change made visible. The place is no less dramatic because of it. These peaks, valleys, and lakes are a spectacular barometer of the interplay between geologic (longest), climatic (long), and human (short) temporal scales. The first two have always been in a slow, by our reckoning, yet powerful dialogue. Our influence is now accelerating the exchange. So what? Glaciers, and mountains for that matter, come and go; what needs to be saved is the stability of the ecosystem upon which our resilience depends. Knowing I work on sustainability issues, well-intentioned friends often ask: what can I do to address this emerging disruption? My answer can be multifaceted, yet will heretofore always begin with the reminder that it's not the planet we need to save – its resilience capacity far surpasses our own – but rather it's ourselves. Gazing upon the majesty of these remarkable, fluid landscapes, let's remember and start with that.