May 6, 2012
Climbers Unfurl 80ft “I’m Melting” Banner on Dana Glacier
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A group of climbers will unfurl an 80ft by 80ft banner on the Dana Glacier on Saturday afternoon with a simple, Wizard of Oz themed message: “I’m Melting.” Click here for hi-res photos of the action.
The action was part of Climate Impacts Day, a global day of events to “connect the dots” between local climate impacts, such as extreme weather events, and the climate crisis. There were more than 1,000 events planned in over 100 countries, from flood-victims holding dots outside their ruined homes in Pakistan to villagers in Kenya rallying in their drought-stricken fields.
“President Obama said last week that climate change would be an issue in the presidential campaign,” said environmental writer Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org. “And you can see why: because it’s an issue in people’s lives, from Vermont to Texas, from Maine to the California coast, from the high plains to the high Sierra to the low country of Florida and the Gulf. Washington is scrambling to catch up to the widespread popular recognition that global warming is underway with a vengeance.”
The action on the Dana Glacier proved to be a complicated logistical undertaking for the young staff at 350.org, the international climate campaign coordinating the day of action. First, they had to track down enough fabric and paint to create the giant banner. In Oakland, they managed to secure an empty parking lot to spread out the banner and paint a giant “dot” with the “I’m Melting” message. Yesterday, a team of volunteers packed up the banner and headed off into the Sierra’s to hike it out to the glacier.
“I’ve done a lot of climbing in the Sierra’s, but never with an 80ft banner to drag around with me,” said Matt Leonard, who led the expedition. “This isn’t your usual hike, but then again, this isn’t our usual planet anymore either. Our hope is that the photos remind people climate change isn’t some problem for the future, but it’s happening right here and now.”
Since 1883, photographers have documented the gradual shrinking of the Dana Glacier. The glacier today is often less than two-thirds the size of its previous grandeur. The Sierra snowpack provides 65% of California’s fresh drinking water.
“Given the amount of change we’ve seen even over the past few decades, I think it’s safe to say that those glaciers will be gone in 100 years,” Greg Stock, a geologist for Yosemite National Park told Sacramento Bee reporter Tom Knudson in 2008. “They may even be gone in 50 years and there’s a chance that some of them will be gone in 20 years.”
A recent Yale University poll in the U.S. found that Americans’ concern about climate change was increasing with more extreme weather and warmer temperatures. According to the research, 82 percent of Americans report that they personally experienced one or more types of extreme weather or a natural disaster in the past year.
“Most people in the country are looking at everything that’s happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another,” Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned the new poll, told the New York Times. “People are starting to connect the dots.”
A complete list of highlighted events around the world can be found on the ClimateDots.org website. Photos and videos from all of the events will also be collected on the website and made available for use by the press and public.###
Contact: Jamie Henn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-601-9337