©Bert Gildart: Publication wise, this has been a good month for me, with four stories and a number of photographs in various publications. All my materials are in good magazines, but my most important story is one appearing in this issue produced by The Wilderness Society.
My story in that magazine is about global warming and it required that I interview a number of well respected scientists. These men and women are the same types of scientists who have helped eradicate polio, map out the human genome, and who have sent astronauts into outer space. I was flattered they shared valuable time with me.
What is indisputable is that global warming is occurring, but what some of us still question is whether global warming is: man caused, part of a natural cycle–or both.
Though the photographs included here were not part of my story for The Wilderness Society, they reflect changes that have occurred in my own back yard, specifically, Glacier National Park. I’ve taken these photos at various times over the past 30 years, the first shown here in 1979.
These three images dramatize the phenomenal change that have recently occurred. Doctor Dan Fagre, a global warming scientist in Glacier, considers Grinnell to be the “poster child of global warming.” He says that all glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2030–”if not sooner.”
The second photo, working from top to bottom, shows Grinnell Glacier in 2001–less than quarter of a century later. Once, as the first photo shows, Grinnell was a massive chunk of ice. In fact, in the early 1900s the glacier extended about a mile down the valley.
Obviously, Grinnell has shrunk in both mass and length, something easy to see by comparing photos. For reference, look at the small pointed peak just a little to the left of center. Then find that same peak in my first photo and examine the similar foregrounds. Compare the ice mass in the first photo with what now remains.
A GLACIER’S RAPID DEMISE
In fact, this once massive ice chunk has receded to such an extent that the name Grinnell Glacier has essentially been replaced by the name Grinnell Lake, or what you now see in the third photograph (and in my summer posting ). This photo was taken in 2005.
Though this sequence of photos may not settle the question of what is causing global warming, it certainly does show the rapidity with which change is occurring in Glacier.
Read my story in the magazine produced by The Wilderness Society and you will see that similar changes are occurring throughout the nation.