The mission of the Initiative is to photograph as many non-polar glaciers as possible “before they are gone” using small aircraft. The purpose of the aerial perspective is to convey an artistically engaging human interest element to these shared and disappearing treasures.
Starting with the glaciers of the American Rockies and later spreading to the recently melted cirques of the Pyrenees and then onto the stirring glaciers of the Swiss and French Alps, a Piper PA-11 Cub Special, built in 1949, was flown to these locales to collect photographs before glaciers disappear.
In 2021, a more capable Piper PA-18 Super Cub was added to the fleet, where it was used to photograph the glaciers of Southern Norway.
From a personal mission, that grew into the founding creed of the Initiative, to “get them before they are gone,” an act to preserve images for mankind, aid in scientific discovery, and increase climate change awareness.
The year that ETH Zurich predicts only 2 glaciers left in Switzerland.
Percentage of built in additional glacier loss if we go to Carbon zero now.
The year science initially predicted that glaciers world melt in Glacier National Park USA.
Percentage glacial loss in the Swiss Alps since 1850.
The Global Glacier Initiative, in furtherance of the application of collected images, intends to develop programs to support climate outreach and education, with the purpose of making these disappearing glaciers understandable to those who cannot visit them in person.
Images are available for a free license to academia, science, education, non-profit, and climate outreach programs. Please contact email@example.com to request a license for any image appearing on this site. Include particulars of the organisation requesting the image and its intended use.
Scientific studies predict the extinction of the majority of non-polar glacier mass by the end of the current century. Should we achieve carbon zero today, as much as 40% of glacial mass could still disappear, as there is a lag in the climate system which will result in additional loss. The sad fact is that our glaciers are likely doomed; therefore, the primary mission of the Global Glacier Initiative is to document as many of them as possible before they disappear. While it may be pessimistic, it is erring on the side of caution as trends are not on our side.
Aside from a repository for humanity to refer to in the future, images will be made available for a variety of purposes to increase glacier awareness and influence human activity to limit damage to the extent possible.
While most mountain ranges and their glaciers may only be visited and photo documented once in keeping with our mission to document them before their disappearance, our eventual fleet at maximum capacity will be based at the foot of some famous mountain ranges around the world. As glaciers naturally change alongside recession processes, we will share news and progress from above as old sites are revisited, showing their dynamic changes.
Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.
Just to lie here in the sun with great white peaks all around me and the biggest glacier in Europe at my feet, to eat from time to time, to sleep a little and dream a great deal- it is a heavenly existence.
GEORGE LEIGH MALLORY