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The Green Life: Greenpeace's Icy Symbolism on Climate Change

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September 02, 2009

Greenpeace's Icy Symbolism on Climate Change

Ice sculptures in Beijing, ChinaGreenpeace placed ice sculptures of 100 children at Beijing's 500-year-old Temple of Earth last week. With fewer than 100 days until the start of the U.N. climate-change conference in Copenhagen, the chilling message is clear: "The clock is ticking."

The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 and organizers hope that Copenhagen will establish a follow-up agreement; the goal is a worldwide plan of action to stabalize the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous manmade climate changes.

This is where the icy symbolism comes into play: Made from glacial meltwater from the source of the Yangtze, Yellow, and Ganges rivers, the sculptures represent "the disappearing future of the more than 1 billion people in Asia who are threatened with water shortages by the changing climate."

The Himalayan glaciers that feed these rivers are are the largest source of ice besides the polar caps. This is  bad news because, according to page 493 of an IPCC study, these glaciers are receding faster than any others in the world and could be 80 percent gone within 30 years.

There are more photos of the Greenpeace action on Flickr. To learn more about the countdown to Copenhagen, visit TckTckTck.

-- Mario Aguilar

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