This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Above white Greenland

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greenland-3The current sea level is 8.5 cm higher than it was in 1993. That change is only in 15 years – and there is evidence of a steady increase since the dawn of the industrial era in the late 1800s. 8.5 cm does not seem a lot, but think about how long it takes to just fill a a bathtub from the faucet. Now imagine how much more water must have been dumped into all vast oceans on our planet to cause such an increase.

Looking out over Greenland through the airplane window it is easy to be fooled by all the vast expanses of ice. The problem is exactly that there is so much ice: should all of it melt in a worst-case scenario, our planet will not look the same. Florida and Singapore will be underwater, and so will almost all of Denmark. The Amazon will be an inland sea instead of two major rivers. St Petersburg might still be barely hanging on atop an island. Or not. greenland-1Most likely this scenario will not happen. But who knows if Florida or Singapore will still survive further than a couple of generations? And we humans and our cities is just one single species. The polar bears, the seals, the walruses, and the narwhals are the most obvious species in trouble. But because the ecosystem is a system, who knows what will happen if the currents change and the lowest levels of the food chain (think krill, plankton) disappear, too? No food for small fish means no food for big fish means no food for anything that lives on fish. And no krill for the whales, either.

Greenland was once named so because of the grassy coastline, which was the first thing the visitors saw. If names are omens, Greenland will properly earn its name soon.greenland-2(Above Greenland; May 2018)

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