Get Off the Grid

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Patagonia winds whisper to me like it was yesterday.

How I crave to be in the mountains walking up and down rugged landscapes, hoping to see yet another breathtaking view, some aspect of the world I never expected, and breathe in the clean cool air.

To be surrounded by nothing except the stunning wilds, untethered from the Internet, no cell phone, just an occasional group of people, most of whom don’t speak English or give a damn about me. Ah, heaven.

This was freedom, the ultimate escape from reality.
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We First’s @simonmainwaring on Cause Marketing

Simon Mainwaring

I first met Simon Mainwaring in Boston in September, 2011 when we shared a keynote on best cause marketing practices (thank you, Katya). Ever since then, I have admired Simon’s unwavering commitment to change the world through cause marketing.

His bestselling book We First is a must read for anyone who believes that businesses play a role in their larger community. I wanted to check in with Simon, and see how the We First project was coming along. Here’s what he had to say‚Ķ

GL: How has We First been embraced by the business community?

SM:Outright the business community has been very kind and open towards We First, welcoming both the book and its message. That said, the purpose of We First is to contribute towards substantive change through which the private sector tempers excesses that compromise the lives of others and does more to contribute towards positive social change.

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Argentine Patagonia: A Stunning Photo Set

Get ready for an incredible visual experience. Is it any wonder I fell absolutely in love with this amazing part of the world?

The set flows through three major attractions in Los Glaciares National Park, the Mount Fitz Roy hike, the Mount Torre/Glacier Grande hike, and the Perite Moreno glacier tour. All in all, the photos were taken over a one week period. You can browse the whole set here on Flickr.

Next up is my Chilean Patogonia set. But while stunning, make no bones about it, Argentine Patagonia was my favorite part of the trip.

The Anatomy of a Glacier

Cerro Torre Looms Over Glaciar Grande

Above, you can see Cerre Torre, a new mountain created in the last ice age, with Glacier Grande at its foot. The lake providing the reflection has been created by the ice sheet’s melting waters, and formerly was the bed of the glacier in previous eras.

Walking on a glacier can change your view of water (don’t forget to sign up for the Live Earth Dow Run for Water). An important fresh water reserve, the Southern Patagonia Ice Field is the second largest extrapolar ice field in the world, and has been dubbed a global resource by UNESCO. While touring the glaciers of Patagonia last month, I did such a walk, and received an education on these shrinking resources.

Cerro Torre Looms Over Glaciar Grande

When you see a glacier in its various stages moving towards the inevitable lake that awaits its melting waters, you are stunned (In the picture above, you can see me about to walk Glacier Grande’s ablation zone). I literally sat, watching several glaciers, poised for the crack of ice and the calving of their walls as they fell into the water.

The part most people see is the ablation zone, where net loss occurs. It’s in this area that you watch the ice flows falling or floating away from the glacier. It is also where you can see the greatest effects of global warming.

Glacial Melt.jpg

In the above picture of Glacier Grande, you’ll see several notations that highlight the glacier’s melting process over the past 25 years:

  • The section marked A represents the current glacier wall, 30 meters above the water surface.
  • B is a granite formation uncovered by the glacier, which is more than 40 meters high in points. This is also where the glacier wall was located approximately ten years ago.
  • With C we see where the glacier wall was 25 years ago. Global warming has had a significant impact on Glacier Grande.
  • D shows you sediment lines, depicting how high the glacier has been in past eras.
  • The ice floes depicted by E where originally part of the wall (A), and have calved. These mini icebergs were caught by the granite formation and eventually either melt or make their way into the larger lake.
  • F represents the larger ablation zone.
  • 4272981186_af0f7c4dc9_m.jpgIf you participate in a glacier walk you can see incredible ravines caused by glacial melt, shrinking and growing. The fracture zone occurs right before the mouth of the glacier where melting occurs. The constant creeking, the deep ravines, the imminent danger, and the fact that the valley you are walking in was carved out by an older form of the very same glacier reminds you of the great power water posesses.

    Walking a glacier can be a surreal experience, but can also be quite dangerous. In some cases the water moves in torrents, and carves massive falls and dangerous ice caves.

    Make sure you hire a guide who can show you how to do it using crampons, picks, and other equipment. In our case, we had three tour guides who helped ten of us. Believe me, we needed them. There were several dangerous bridges that could have yielded a 45-50 meter drop into the freezing lake water under the glacier.

    Glaciar Grande

    Geoff Livingston is a regular contributor to the Live Earth blog.