That report was in Victoria’s Times-Colonist newspaper and it may amount to little more than a newspaper’s dictum that holds virtually all stories, regardless of how remote from our lives as they might me, “must be localized.”
But, I don’t think such is the case here.
The Comox Glacier, known to the original inhabitants of the area as Queneesh (the great white whale), has been revered since time immemorial (and maybe even before then) and has been much loved by those who originally owned the place and also by the European originating latecomers who acquired the place with or without permission. Shit happens. (The Queneesh image shown is by local Native artist Andy Everson)
It is kind of a geological talisman for what the Comox Valley is and many would find it difficult to come to terms with it being gone. Yet, the article in the TC suggests, via reputable scientific study, that end-game is nigh and the glacier has maybe a quarter of a century left. That is, of course, if you believe climate change is a real thing. Well now, despite the lack of enthusiasm by Creationist quarters and certain relics in the federal government, it seems to be a foregone that there have been a lot of changes within a brief span of time. So, while I was slow to embrace the virtues of the metric system, I am pretty sure there is some substance here as pertains to the Glacier.
I believe it because I have watched it diminish over recent years and quite seriously, it’s disquieting. They report that if you make the challenging hike to the top – which I don’t plan to do as I find the steps up the cliff at Goose Spit challenging enough – there exist already a lot of holes and chasms that weren’t once there. So, I have never been to the top other than to have once flown over it at close quarters in an Air Force jet. And at that vantage point it was pretty cool and left me with more of a kinship with good old Queneesh.
The waning of the glacier is disturbing at a number of levels including the obvious environmental consideration, but waning it is. Now, I could be a realist and point out that glaciers are remnants of the last great ice age and throughout the history of the planet over multi-millennia, glaciers have waxed and waned, like some marriages, I understand, and we are currently in a waning realm so they are bound to diminish. We are coming into an eventual ice-free mode on the planet and it’ll be tropical beaches for everyone. Great, I like the tropics.
But, the big question is ‘why has it gone away so quickly?’ I have often thought how, when I was a child, we used to get a great deal of outdoor ice skating in winter, but now that never seems to happen. And since I have lived in the Comox Valley that magnificent glacier has progressively diminished. Hey, stuff does change, as I suggested, but more than a why, the point that is disquieting is, ‘why so quickly?’ Did we do that? Are we responsible? Do 87-lane LA freeways have something to do with this? Do thousands of Chinese smelters and coal-burning locomotives play a role. Well, and I may be wrong, I think they do.
But, perhaps what is most disturbing to me is that the time will ultimately come when we will want to sell our house. And the view of the glacier outside that front window is a big selling point:
“Hey, sport, take a gander at that glacier. Pretty nice thing to look out on every morning, no?”
“What glacier? All I see is a big naked hill.”
“Yeah, well I can show you pictures of what was there when we bought the house, OK?”