Photographing melting glaciers for future generations

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By Euronews
Aviator and adventurer Garrett Fisher flies his plane above the Folgefonna glacier in Norway.
Aviator and adventurer Garrett Fisher flies his plane above the Folgefonna glacier in Norway.   -   Copyright  Bram Janssen/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Garrett Fisher has a singular passion: photographing glaciers from the air. This 41-year-old American has spent years documenting glaciers first in North America and then in Europe. He has spent almost the entire summer flying above Norway.

His passion started in the late 90's when he became aware that glaciers were shrinking. According to the European Environmental Agency, the Alps have lost about half their volume since 1900. And that's mainly due to climate change. The EEA estimates that by 2100, European glaciers will continue to melt by between 22% and 84% of their volume, this being the moderate scenario.

"I think 100 or 200 years, most of them will be gone or severely curtailed", says Fisher. "So I'm photographing an experience in what I consider to be the most expedient, cost-effective time effective way so future generations can see something that will certainly be gone."

Major environmental issue

The rise of sea levels by about 15 centimetres is mostly due to the melting of ice caps, which makes it a greater environmental issue.

It might seem counter-intuitive to fly the skies in a gas-powered airplane. But Fisher says he limits his carbon footprint in other ways. He has a hybrid car and has been powering his house with hydraulic energy for years.

A 'relatable' documentation

But why use an airplane if satellite images are available? Fisher thinks they're too remote and too two-dimensional. He wants to deliver relatable photographs.

"It's very personal and relatable as a human", he says. "It's not a data set. It's a very motivating, emotionally compelling rendition of these glaciers while they're here because these views will not come back until the next Ice Age, which could be tens of thousands of years away."

The clock is ticking and that's precisely why Garrett Fisher wants to leave a lasting record for future generations. A legacy for those who might never experience these splendid natural landscapes.

Watch the video in the player above.