Icelandic Richard Branson touts pure water, but at a cost

11 September 2014, by

Icelandic businessman Jón Ólafsson has some bottled water he wants you to try that’s as clear as can be. In 2003, when Ólafsson owned 85 percent of all the music recorded in Iceland, he decided to call it quits from his telecom and media empire and try something new. Providing what might be one of […]

Emma Thompson’s latest role: climate change activist

8 August 2014, by

Two-time Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson is known for her leading roles in Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually and more recently Effie Gray. But her latest role might have the greatest reach: as a real-life activist for climate change Thompson is travelling with Greenpeace across the Arctic aboard the activist ship, Esperanza, […]

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In Kyrgyzstan, not all glacier lakes are monitored equally

24 July 2014, by

As the temperature rises and glacial lakes grow, the Kyrgyzstan government is monitoring some glaciers while neglecting others. Kyrgyzstani officials are closely studying the 18 growing glacial lakes on the Adygene Glacier to predict glacial hazards. Since these glacial lakes are located above Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, glacial lake outburst floods could potentially flood the valley, […]

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In Chile, glaciers and dams become political footballs

15 July 2014, by

Glaciers, an unlikely political player in Latin America, had a major part to play in one of the most striking victories for the environmental movement in South America. Last month, a committee of ministers in Chile voted to cancel the permit of the massive HidroAysen project located in southern Chile that had sought to construct […]

Privatizing the world’s tallest peaks

9 July 2014, by

While the rise in commercial mountaineering has been generating valuable income for Nepal, it has also resulted in pollution and local disturbance. Now the Nepalese tourism ministry is planning to lease exclusive access to many of its highest mountains to private tourism companies. The government claims that the privatization of the mountains is necessary so […]

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At the world’s highest battleground, India and Pakistan fight over a glacier

25 June 2014, by

The highest battleground in the world is over an un-demarcated glacier in the Himalaya’s Karakoram range. For three decades, India and Pakistan’s military dispute has incuded the militarization and control of Siachen glacier. Amid calls of demilitarization of the area from Pakistan and international actors, the Indian government has vowed to continue supporting the armed […]

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See it while you can: A Peruvian national park capitalizes on glacier melt

25 June 2014, by

Ecotourists want to experience the power, beauty, and wonder of nature. But do they also want to be exposed to its fragility? Not long ago Peru’s Pastoruri glacier attracted around 100,000 visitors per year, but the number of tourists has dwindled as the glacier has shrunk. As it shrank, it divided into two smaller glaciers […]

Melting ice threatens to also disappear a small Nepal village

25 June 2014, by

I was growing impatient waiting for the village of Samzong to appear. After spending hours on horseback climbing over several mountain passes at 12,000 feet, my friend then pointed it out to me. I still could not find it. When I looked forward more carefully, I realized that Samzong had been in front of my […]

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In a small area of Nepal, it’s China that steps in to give aid

25 June 2014, by

Encroaching on its neighbor, China has been building roads and providing grain to Nepal. As most, if not all, Nepalese glaciers studied by scientists are shrinking, traditional ways of subsistence living has become increasingly difficult. With warming, lower snowfall and unpredictable weather patterns, the streams of glacial meltwater that supplies several Himalayan villages have disappeared. […]

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As the ice melts, communities ask: Should I stay or should I go now?

25 June 2014, by

As the global temperature increases, vulnerable communities seem to be faced with a choice: adapt or collapse. Migration is frequently proposed as an adaptation strategy, or in some cases, as an unavoidable outcome for communities lacking the capacity to change. Some researchers, however, have criticized this perspective, saying that it reflects an environmental determinism that […]

To prevent mining expansion, form your own country

25 June 2014, by

Chilean law does not recognize its 3,100 glaciers, leaving them with limited protection from industrial development. Most notably, the copper mining industry, which contributes 15 percent of the country’s $268.3 billion GDP, often encroaches on the glaciers, tapping water for operations, or dumping mining detritus on them. Recently, the state-owned Codelco proposed expansion of the […]