17 chilling photos of glaciers that could melt even the hardest politician's heart.

It's time to save the world. Literally.

Did you know there are glaciers in South America?

There are, and they're beautiful! The Patagonian ice fields, located in the southern Patagonia Andes of Chile and Argentina, are the largest ice mass in the Southern Hemisphere with the exception of Antarctica, and the third largest freshwater reserve in the world.

While ice, snow, and glaciers might not be what comes to mind when you think of South America, near the southernmost part of the continent, that's exactly what you'll find.


All photos by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photojournalist Mario Tama recently visited the ice field, capturing the beauty of the ice formations alongside the signs of the toll climate change has taken on the area.

The southern ice field is roughly five times the size of Rhode Island.

The southern ice field is made up of roughly 50 glaciers and runs across parts of Argentina and Chile.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

In 1937, Argentina established Los Glaciares National Park to preserve a vast region of Patagonia.

It's unique ecosystem combines things like waterfalls, rivers, forests, and, yes, glaciers.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

People walking across the Perito Moreno Glacier in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

UNESCO inscribed Los Glaciares National Park as a "World Heritage" in 1981.

UNESCO describes the park as "an area of exceptional natural beauty, with rugged, towering mountains and numerous glacial lakes."

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Glaciers sometimes look bluish in color because of light refraction.

Part of a glacier breaks off as the result of melting. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The U.S. National Parks Service explains this phenomenon (and how you can experience it for yourself):

"Because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in ice, the more blue it appears. So... why is snow white? Light does not penetrate into snow very far before being scattered back to the viewer. However, the next time you are in an igloo, notice that it is blue inside. You can also poke a stick into some snow, shade the area around the hole, and look deep into the snow pack. The light that has traveled some distance through the snow will be enhanced in blue."

Between 2000 and 2012, these glaciers melted at a rate roughly 1.5 times faster than ever previously recorded.

Melting occurs throughout the glacier, and while it may not be completely uniform in pattern, recent studies suggest it's becoming more normalized throughout. Which means the whole glacier is starting to melt at roughly the same rate.

Melted glacial ice floats in Los Glaciares National Park. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The rapidly melting glaciers are leading to rising sea levels.

Melting of glaciers and ice caps are the biggest contributors to rising sea levels around the world. As glaciers melt, the freshwater stored within gets dumped into surrounding bodies of water. If unchecked, this could pose disastrous consequences for people around the world.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

As is the case for other glaciers around the world, it's climate change that's driving the melt-off.

Glaciers and other ice structures are some of the most impressive natural storers of climate information. As glaciers have been around for a very long time, they've existed through warming and cooling periods. Recent data extracted from glaciers, however, shows that the modern melt-off is different from naturally occurring fluctuations.

This is Lake Argentino, which holds runoff water from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Horses run outside Los Glaciares National Park. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Some say it's too late to stop the melting, but that doesn't mean we should give up.

Dr. Ian Joughin of the University of Washington explained to the New York Times that climate change has destabilized glacier-covered areas, and without a stabilization mechanism, we'll continue to see glaciers melting.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Climate change is very real, and in addition to wiping glaciers from the earth, there are other dire consequences.

Rising sea levels may make some currently populated places totally uninhabitable. Additionally, due to climate change, the world can expect to see an increase in unseasonable and unpredictable storms, more droughts, and more heat waves.

But there are things we can (and should) do to help stop it. Like urging politicians to take action.

Over the next two weeks, 150 world leaders are meeting in Paris to discuss what we, as human beings, can do to preserve our planet and fight climate change. Some individuals don't believe we should take action, and some even doubt the reality of climate change (although 97% of the world's climate scientists assure humanity that yes, it is very real).

But meaningful change starts with letting our elected officials know that yes, this is an issue worth prioritizing for the sake of our world and generations to come.

So before the glaciers say their final "goodbye," let's do something about it!

Heroes
terimakasih0/Pixabay

When Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School principal Janet Behrens observed her students in the cafeteria, she was dismayed to see that they spent more time looking down at their phones than they did looking at and interacting with each other. So last year, she implemented a new policy that's having a big impact.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

popular
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular