An Interview on Patagonian Imaginaries

A recent paper in the Journal of Latin American Geography, “The Patagonian Imaginary: Natural Resources and Global Capitalism at the Far End of the World,” analyzes the construction of southern Andean Patagonia as an “ecoregion,” a label that has come to dominate the representation of the glaciated territory of Chile and Argentina. Through this representation, resource extraction and environmental preservation coalesce within a shared framework of green development, which then circulates globally and perpetuates the ecoregion narrative.

The incomparable beauty of the Patagonian Andes near Ushuaia (Source: Trey Ratcliff/Creative Commons).

The paper is a collaborative research effort by five scholars, and it differs from other work in the region in that it attempts to produce a unifying regional framework via a coterie of academic interests and field sites. GlacierHub spoke with the anthropologists Marcos Mendoza and Laura Ogden, two of the paper’s authors, about their findings.

GlacierHub: Briefly describe the importance of your research.

Marcos Mendoza: There are three contributions that the paper makes. It provides the first theorization of southern Andean Patagonia as an ecoregion that simultaneously examines multiple resource regimes. Most previous studies have focused rather narrowly on one type of resource. Instead, we sought to build our argument across three resource domains: land conservation, forestry, and hydropower. Second, we have developed a conceptual model for understanding the Patagonian ecoregion as an example of what we termed a “regional territorial imaginary.” To understand the Patagonian territorial imaginary, we attended to the: 1) geopolitics of space, particularly the development of protected areas in the wake of ongoing border conflicts between Argentina and Chile; 2) the intersection of global neoliberal capitalism with green development; and 3) the diverse forms of natural capital at work within “conservation” and “extraction.” Third, we hope it shows how useful it can be to theorize across resource regimes and bring together like-minded scholars working on similar problems. 


GlacierHub: Describe your own work, and how that fits into this collaboration.

Laura Ogden: Patagonia, like Amazonia, has functioned as a mythic imaginary for a very long time [see Hugh Raffles’ classic “In Amazonia”]. Every hostel in the region seems to have several well-worn copies of Bruce Chatwin’s “In Patagonia” lying around, which says something about how and why a particular figuration of Patagonia endures. For the last several years, I have been doing fieldwork in southernmost Patagonia, in the Fuegian archipelago, both on the main island and on Navarino Island. My project, which I am calling an alternative archive of loss, change, and wonder, explores the ways global environmental change articulates with other histories of loss and change in the region, as well as the limitations of this optic.

For the past few decades, environmental anthropologists, and particularly political ecologists, have been interested in understanding how neoliberal forms of capitalism are transforming conservation efforts and forms of environmental concern. I have always been fairly skeptical of totalizing critique, and so was not surprised that some of the key manifestations of neoliberal conservation— interest in carbon markets, ecosystem services, eco-tourism, etc. — are mostly rhetorical or strategic devices in the parks, estancias [estates or ranches], and communities where I have been working. In reality, the infrastructure just isn’t there yet — even though a range of communities evoke that language in hopes that the places and livelihoods they care about will be protected and/or remain economically viable. Of course, this could change quickly. Yet, our collaborative exercise showed me how the idea of Patagonia is becoming operationalized in new ways to support conservation and ecotourism throughout Chile and Argentina— sometimes to counter older forms of capitalist extraction and development initiatives, such as hydroelectric power. 

The jagged ice has captured the imagination of tourists from across the globe (Source: Killy Ridols/Creative Commons).

GH: If past research within Patagonia has been limited to specific sites and has failed to tell a broader regional story, what are the limits of the spatially and temporally multitiered methodology you and your co-authors implement in studying the region?

MM: The obvious next step to this methodological approach would be to perform a similar “regionalization” study of the eastern/non-Andean zone of Southern Patagonia, which has its own history of resource exploitation and representational value. However, eastern Patagonia has been primarily focused on agro-extraction—mining, petroleum, and livestock farming— with less coverage by protected areas. There is a fundamental asymmetry within the global imagination of Patagonia, which privileges its Andean landscapes (glaciers, mountains, lagunas, forests) and erases its non-Andean landscapes (steppe, monte, and coastal ecologies). This is one limitation to our study, which should be expanded to include the rest of Southern Patagonia.


GH: In what ways does the regional territorial imaginary of Patagonia as ecoregion create a new space for indigenous rights? I assume the ecoregion label and the commodification of pristine natural beauty also comes with foreign desire to experience indigenous cultures. What role does the territorial imaginary grant to the indigenous?

MM: The ecoregion is a green developmental framework to which indigenous groups— most located in Northern Patagonia— could tether their projects, goals and movements. This provides indigenous groups with a framework for potentially opposing mining, forestry, and hydropower companies and interests. However, green capitalism also presents its own set of risks to indigenous groups in the form of land grabs, control of water rights, inequality, etc.  

The ecoregion does entail the commodification of sublime nature and indigeneity/heritage. However, the armed forces and settler colonists were quite successful in killing, dispossessing and marginalizing indigenous societies in southern Andean Patagonia. Since the late 19th century, part of the colonization effort has been to erase or suppress the existing indigenous presence that remains. Rather than indigenous societies, the ecotourism industry has primarily sought to commodify Patagonian rural heritage. Gauchos [cowboys from southern South America] and paisanos [country people], working on estancias [estates], have become representative of “native Patagonian frontier culture.” This heritage industry draws upon tropes of indigeneity to construct a “wild other” living on the margins of Chilean and Argentine society.


GH: There are obviously limits to place-making, and one cannot readily attract visitors to any site. Why do you think mountains and glaciers in particular are such place-makeable spaces? I am curious about the importance of glaciers in constituting the Patagonia imaginary, and how that ties into a larger ecotourism trends in other glaciated parts of the world. Why, in your opinion, is Los Glaciares the “crown jewel” of Patagonian parks? What drives these sites as spaces of bourgeois aesthetic distinction?

The mesmerizing alpine landscapes lends themselves well to the ecoregion imaginary (Source: roman korzh/Creative Commons).

MM: As someone who has worked in Argentina, let me speak to that country’s history. One of the interesting things about the founding of the National Parks Administration of Argentina was that it involved elites who had spent substantial time traveling throughout Europe. They were well versed with the connection between the Alps, tourism and the leisured class. The founders sought to refashion Argentine and foreign understandings of the Patagonian Andes in explicit reference to creating Argentina’s version of the Swiss Alps. From the 1930s onward, mountains and glaciers became crucial to the state-led tourism industry in Northern Andean Patagonia. It took many decades, however, for tourism and conservation to become integral to Southern Andean Patagonia.

The Perito Moreno Glacier in the iconic Los Glaciares National Park (Source: Dimitry B./Creative Commons).

Since the 1990s, Southern Andean Patagonia has begun to market itself more aggressively as the “end of the world” and the region with some of most accessible glaciers on the planet. Sure, you can hike 12 hours round-trip to see a glacier up close, but you can also take a charter bus to the observation deck positioned directly in front of Perito Moreno Glacier. Or you can board a boat to sail through the fjords and see dozens of glaciers. For those people who either cannot hike or choose not to, accessibility is a major selling point. Because of this suite of options, Los Glaciares National Park is the most visited park in Patagonia, for now. Indeed, the primary ecotourism circuit involves Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine, and Tierra del Fuego. The place branding of the region really revolves around these three parks, but there is a lot of work going on in Chile’s Aysén Region to add more high-profile destinations to the primary circuit.


GH: The paper refers to a new phase of global capital, in which the extraction of resources and the conservation of biodiversity operate according to the same capitalistic logic. What future do you see to this pairing?

MM: In this article, we try to show how the Patagonian ecoregion is emerging through processes of natural capital formation across industries traditionally labelled as “conservation” or “extraction.” However, one of the points we make is that these terms are themselves slippery, underdetermined and contested. The case of hydropower is a good example. Some argue that building mega-dams is an example of “energy extraction” and should be opposed in order to preserve the green development framework. Others argue that mega-dams are actually “green energy” and align with the ecoregion paradigm. Our point is that scholars need to pay closer attention to the politics of meaning surrounding these two terms, which are often opposed to one another in an uncritical fashion.  

In terms of the future of this new phase of global capital, I imagine we will continue to see the growing expansion of natural capital, of various kinds. Much of the cutting-edge work in the neoliberal conservation literature looks at financialization and the new mechanisms and technologies allowing different permutations of natural capital to circulate globally. What our paper underscores is that we should expect to see different regimes of natural capital formation begin to interlock with industries we typically think of as “extractive.” In this way, corporations and industries can make money through the extraction and exchange of natural resources, but also make money off of conserving its resource stock for a set amount of time or by certifying its products as sustainable/green/eco-friendly.

The popular Patagonia brand has profited from and contributed to the Patagonia ecoregion imaginary (Source: Yukiko Matsuoka/Creative Commons).


GH: Ecotourism seem to have a long future, but what are the ecological risks to the region if the tourists, for whatever reason, stop coming?

MM: Certainly, there are many socio-ecological risks to Patagonian societies given their increasing specialization as an ecoregion. There will be more forest fires in popular national parks like Torres del Paine. We will see increasing urbanization in towns like El Calafate and Ushuaia. And there is always the fear that Patagonia will cease being a hyped, high-status destination to visit.

As such, communities recognize that they are dependent on macroeconomic factors and exchange rates over which they have little to no control. However, Patagonia continues to benefit from its global image as an archetypal wilderness. Its ecotourism industry–based on touristic access to glaciers–will endure for many more decades to come, despite climate change. Given the scale of the Southern and Northern Patagonian Icefields (combined they are approximately the size of the state of Vermont), Patagonian ecotourism destinations will have a comparative advantage over other alpine destinations that are rapidly losing their glaciers.  

Intimacy and Expertise: A Conversation with Antarctic Anthropologist Jessica O’Reilly

Glaciologists Doing What They Do

When most people think about Antarctica, they do not think about people.  That is not the case for Jessica O’Reilly, assistant professor of international studies at Indiana University.  In her April 2016 paper, “Sensing the ice: field science, models, and expert intimacy with knowledge,” published in theJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, O’Reilly explores the life of Antarctic scientists and their intimate knowledge of their frozen world.

With years of experience and deep contact with their subject matters, experts of the most southern continent develop an understanding that allows the scientific community to most accurately answer pressing questions, even when lacking complete scientific data.  In her paper, O’Reilly explores a common tool called expert elicitation used to garner this educated opinion.  This method is often used in the assessment of glacier melting and assessment reports on climte change.

In an interview with GlacierHub, O’Reilly discusses her adventure to the Antarctic and her findings on the deep connection field scientists and modelers have with Antarctica.  A condensed and edited version of the conversation follows.

Jessica O’Reilly in Antarctica


GlacierHub: Your recent paper discusses the intuitive understanding a scientist develops when working closely with a subject.  In your article’s case, the subject is the Antarctic ice sheet. Can you walk me through the phases of your research?

JOR: In 2004, I began participant observation with Antarctic scientists and policy makers.  Then in 2005 and 2006 I lived in New Zealand, where I worked with Antarctic scientists and policy makers and went on an Antarctic expedition in December of 2005 to do my dissertation project.

I tried to understand how and why Antarctic scientists do what they do.  My main question was how that [their behavior] affects environmental management and policy.  I followed that up with a second project, which was archival research on what scientist believe will happen to the West Antarctic ice sheet and how those projections have changed over time.

In this paper, I looked back at both of these projects and instead of directly studying how the scientists do their research, I tried to understand how the folk tales or legends they spun about their experiences on the ice, or with their data, may affect their perception of the ice sheet.


GH: The word intimacy is very powerful.  Can you explain further how someone can have an intimate relationship with an inanimate object like ice?

JOR: I’m thinking about intimacy as knowing something well, through a long and deep relationship. In the article, I suggest that expert knowledge emerges through these long-term encounters with their field sites and their objects of encounter. This builds from Hugh Raffles’ work on “Intimate Knowledge,” that he published in 2002.


GH: Can you define the term, “expert elicitation,” and discuss its connection to environmental policy?

JOR: Expert elicitation is a formalization of this idea that scientific judgment is highly valued.  It is a… research method where social scientists will send out surveys or gather specialists to give their thoughts about something that is very uncertain, such as predictions about the collapse of the ice sheet.  At the time of expert elicitation there is typically high uncertainty in the data either from the models or field observations about what may happen.  However, there are experts who have living knowledge based on all the time they have spent on the glacier or with their models – or both.

Crevasse Peeking


GH: Why do you think it’s important to bring social research, such as expert elicitation, into scientific analysis?

JOR: A good reason to utilize it is to fill [data] gaps in scientific assessments like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which were used to form the basis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Paris Agreement.

Climate science is a massive interdisciplinary field, and when the science timeline does not match the political timeline, or when policy makers need information quickly and there are gaps in the knowledge, expert elicitation can be one way to fill in a gap.  Everyone understand that the earth is warming and it’s partly caused by humans, but some more specific details like when sea level will rise, where it will rise the most and over what timescale are less certain.  As modeling and data collection continues, some researchers utilize expert elicitation to get as much information on the table as possible so that policy makers can make better decisions.


GH:  According to your work not everyone, even some out in the field in Antarctica, believes that expert elicitation is a viable source of information

JOR: Right, it is contested [see Glacial Drama].  And like all social sciences when exchanged with the hard sciences, or qualitative versus quantitative issues, there are people who are not enthusiastic about it.  The people who conduct expert elicitation or who choose to participate understand the criticisms of it.  It has always been a tool in situations of uncertainty where there isn’t adequate data from natural and physical sciences.


GH: It is very easy to see how someone working in the field in Antarctica can develop an intimacy with the ice.  But what is harder to grasp is the concept of modelers developing intimacy with the glaciers.  How do you explain your observations of the modelers?

JOR: Pure modelers don’t have a relationship with the glacier; they have a relationship with their model… Everyone has relationships with glaciers even if they don’t go, but we don’t all develop relationships with computer code.

U.S. Base: McMurdo Station, Antarctica

That was something that surprised me when I started interviewing modelers.  They love it so much it’s not about going to Antarctica.  It’s about doing the model and seeing a representation of the Earth’s processes unfolding through a series of equations.  The modelers become intimate with their models the same way field scientists come to know the places they are studying, which is through immersion into a long process that is sometimes monotonous but almost meditative.


GH: From your experience and the interviews you conducted, how did working in Antarctic conditions affect the social relationship of the field scientists?

JOR: That is a great question.  My book [The Technocratic Antarctic: an ethnography of science expertise and environmental governance], which is coming out late this year, talks about that.  I don’t think it’s the extreme environment that affects the social relationship as much as the isolation, which does go hand-in-hand with the harsh environment.

The people who choose to go down there are interesting characters and are very thoughtful.  You don’t just happen upon Antarctica.  It is very deliberate decision to get down there.  It involves a bunch of red tape.  Even going on a tourist cruise involves a year of planning, gearing up and training.

There are also a lot of interesting traditions.  Some think it would be hard for an anthropologist in Antarctica because there are not many people, but I found it very rich socially.  You would have to read a whole book to get a glimpse of it.  The culture in Antarctica is a very young culture.  A cool thing about it is that it’s the only continent where the first structure built there is still exists.

Addressing Mountains in a Peruvian Village

pinchollo hualca hualca 2
Farmers from Pinchollo village clean a water reservoir for the glacial melt water from Hualca Hualca mountain. Source: A. Stensrud

From 2010 to 2012, Astrid Stensrud, currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oslo, researched climate change in the Colca Canyon of southern Peru, as part of the project “From Ice to Stone” from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. With climate change, water insecurity has caused new uncertainties for farmers in this part of Peru. For her article “Climate Change, Water Practices and Relational Worlds in the Andes,” Stensrud researched water practices to provide an anthropological perspective on how local people adapt to climate change. The research is based on ethnographic material generated during eight months of fieldwork in various villages of Peru, located at different altitudes in the Colca-Majes-Camaná watershed. Examining climate change from a social science perspective can complement natural science perspectives, because it allows for an analysis of the integrated relationship between infrastructure, technology, material objects, and culture. Taking this connected web into account, water serves as a link to join every part, including not only natural factors but also social and cultural ones. Stensrud’s research shows that these aspects are connected, offering locally-based solutions to address the current water crisis caused by climate change.

Stensrud spoke with Glacier Hub by email.

pinchollo hualca hualca 3-2
Farmers from Pinchollo village, Peru. Source: A. Stensrud

GlacierHub: As an anthropologist, why did you decide to focus on the intersection of culture, water security, and climate change— and what does looking at culture add to the climate change conversation?

Astrid Stensrud: Climate research has been largely dominated by the natural sciences, but social anthropologists ask different questions and have the advantage of doing long-term, in-depth fieldwork among people affected by climate change and declining water supplies. Anthropology can contribute by drawing attention to cultural values and everyday politics that shape climate-related knowledge and responses to environmental change. Understanding climate change is not only about melting ice and changing precipitation patterns. In order to understand how climate change affects lives, it is necessary to look at stories and narratives, imaginations of the past and anticipations of the future, and knowledge, values and worldviews that inform people’s actions and engagements with the environment.

GH: Why did you choose the Colca Valley in Peru as the site for your research?

AS: I was invited to join a research project called “From Ice to Stone” at the University of Copenhagen for two years in 2010-2012, and it was led by anthropologist Karsten Paerregaard who has been doing ethnographic research in Colca Valley since the 1980s. Since this is an arid area, water access and irrigation have always been crucial issues in Colca, and these concerns are now exacerbated because of climate change. In my current position as a postdoctoral researcher in the research project “Overheating: the three crises of globalization” at the University of Oslo, it was a natural choice to return to the Colca-Majes watershed in order to continue the research on perceptions and responses to climate change and neoliberal economic policies.

pinchollo hualca hualca 4
The celebration after finishing the work on the reservoir. Source: A. Stensrud

GS: In the course of your research, what was your biggest surprise?

AS: I was surprised to find that issues of water and climate change were so visible and present in conversations among people. I was expecting to patiently dig for information, but when I arrived to Chivay in March 2011, water was discussed in private and public arenas on an everyday basis, and climate change was a term that was used extensively. Later on, I realized that this was not necessarily a good thing, for example when the threat of climate change is used to make poor farmers pay for licenses for water use rights. Climate change was also used as an excuse by a mining company in their response to farmers’ complaints about disappearing water sources nearby a mining site; they claimed that the mine was not to be blamed, because the culprit was global warming.

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The return trip to the village. Source: A. Stensrud

GS: You use the word “cosmopolitics” in your study. What does it mean, and how does that word help explain water issues in the Colca Valley?

AS: Here I am inspired by the anthropologist Marisol de la Cadena, who has used the term “indigenous cosmopolitics” – or a “pluriversal politics” – to describe a politics that would allow for disagreements on the definition of nature itself, and accept nature as multiplicity. It contributes to my argument that different water practices enact multiple versions of water, for example relational water and modern water, and that a stronger ethnographic focus on material practices can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of climate change effects and water politics. In Colca Valley, it might for example say something about why relating to mountain-beings is not “indigenous religion,” but part of communities’ responses to water scarcity.

pinchollo hualca hualca 1
A canal leads the glacial meltwater from the Hualca Hualca mountain to the reservoir. Source: A. Stensrud

GH: Colca Valley is deep. Are the glaciers visible from the villages? Does the fact that people do (or don’t) see them regularly influence the way that they think about them?

AS: Yes, the Colca River runs through the deep Colca Canyon. However, the villages are not located at the riverbank, but further up in the mountainsides, and they have very clear views of the mountaintops that used to be covered by glaciers – permanent snow and ice – but which now are black. When it has snowed and the mountains are white, people comment upon their beauty. The visibility of the mountaintops makes the absence of the glaciers very dramatic.

GH: At GlacierHub, we focus on glaciers. But perhaps we think about them more than the people who live near them. Did glaciers come up spontaneously in conversation, or only if you asked about them?

AS: When explaining the topic of my research for people, or when asking questions about weather and water, the first thing that many people mentioned was the lack of snow on the mountaintops and the permanent ice that had disappeared, causing dry pastures and other problems. So I did not have to ask specifically for the glaciers for people to tell me about them. Their visibility and their importance for water provision (at least in some of the villages) made their disappearance into a matter of concern for farmers.

Glaciers and Society: Ethnographic Approaches

People living in the proximity of Andean glaciers. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen
People living in the proximity of Andean glaciers. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen

By Mattias Borg Rasmussen and Karine Gagné

According to the 2007 Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the decrease of glaciers is a nearly worldwide phenomenon. But how do local communities experience and comprehend melting glaciers?

A range of anthropological studies have examined the relationship between glaciers and societies. While glaciers can be depicted as elements of the landscape and their retreat connected to water excess and scarcity, as demonstrated by Drew (2012) with the case of the Gangotri–Gaumukh Glacier in North India and Cruikshank (2005) with the case of the Mount Saint Elias ranges where Alaska, British Columbia and Yukon Territory meet, glaciers also form part of local worldviews and cultural systems. Therefore, glaciers also provide an entrance point for understanding how environmental change is dealt with by very different societies. Glacial retreat is not only a matter of aesthetics and resource management: changes in the qualities of the landscapes have deeply felt implications for the cultural lives of those living nearby whose material and spiritual lives are entangled with the rhythms of the glaciers. Such unsettled relationships are further disturbed as the melting ice draw in new actors and agendas for either mitigation, adaptation or economic development.

Sheep grazing below Mt. Huantsán in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen
Sheep grazing below Mt. Huantsán in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen

In these encounters around the melting ice there is a friction or tension between Western representations and local people’s views of glaciers. Western science and standards have served as mechanisms to redefine glaciers, valuing them for their aesthetic dimensions, exploiting them for income-generating activities, protecting societies against increasing danger, or using them as scientific laboratories. Thus, the retreating glaciers draw together actors on different scales.   Conceptualizations of glaciers are rich and diversified across cultural settings. In their studies conducted in Nepal, Agrawala & Van Aalst (2008) and Kattelmann (2003) have shown how this must be taken into account when actions for adapting to a changing environment are designed.

Three farmers in a village called Nimoo, North India. Source: Karine Gagne
Three farmers in a village called Nimoo, North India. Source: Karine Gagne

The knowledge of communities that live in the proximity of the glaciers is fundamentally empirical as the meltwater feed directly into local livelihoods. As their crops are dependent on stream flow for irrigation, farmers in mountain communities are sensitive observers to changes in water availability as demonstrated by Meenawat & Sovacool (2011) in Bhutan and Banerji & Basu (2010) in North India. In addition to this, glaciers can be central to the ways different peoples narrate their place in the world. In other words, glaciers are part of local ontologies and cosmologies, transcending the representational character of landscape. For some communities, because they have a sacred character, these glaciers compel a set of prescribed behaviors, like Byg & Salick (2009) have shown in their research in Tibet and Frömming (2009) in her research on Mount Kilimanjaro. Transgressing local rules is seen as a key factor in triggering the movement of glaciers and, consequently, the movements of glaciers are often seen as the result of an encounter between different worlds and different values: as local worlds are disrupted by outside influences, glaciers move and may generate natural hazards.

Before visiting new places or crossing dangerous territory, one must pay offerings to the earth beings. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen
Before visiting new places or crossing dangerous territory, one must pay offerings to the earth beings. Source: Mattias Borg Rasmussen

These encounters mean that glaciers are infused with new meanings that may well interfere with how they are valued in local cosmologies. As Purdie (2013) has demonstrated in her study in New Zealand, tourism, for example, has transformed glaciers into sites of great economic importance. But the proximity to the glaciers so valued among tourists contrasts with local taboos that prevail among many societies that attribute a sacred character to glaciers. The same goes for the new lucrative economic activities that glacier retreat has opened up to in different parts of the world as demonstrated by Carey et al. (2012) in their study in the Andes. For both, greater national and international attention and value is given to glaciers which are associated with economic activities. This in turn has led to a lack of understanding of how local communities ascribe cultural value to the glacier. Along similar lines, there is a more concerted reaction from regional and national decision-makers for adaptation to receding glaciers that generates income than glaciers on which small-scale farmers depend.

An artificial glacier in village Nang. Photo: Karine Gagne
An artificial glacier in village Nang. Photo: Karine Gagne

A central point in the studies of the relationship between glaciers and societies is that glaciers are never just elements of the natural landscape detached from human societies. Glacial retreat therefore has profound influence not only in economic or aesthetic terms, but also in the ways in which people around the world engage with their environment. Beyond mere indexes of climate change, glacial retreat is about deeply felt changes in cultural and social worlds.

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