“Chasing Ice”: How to Prevent Glacier Calving and Save the World From Climate Change!

July 26, 2016

On 28 May 2008, Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in western Greenland. The glacier calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is approximately 3,000 feet and 300-400 feet above sea level.

The footage captured below went on to be recognised as the largest glacier calving in the world caught on film by the 2016 edition of the Guinness World Records.

What is glacier calving?

Glacier calving is when chunks of ice break off the end of an ice glacier. The reason for this is that the forward motion of a glacier makes the end unstable.

How fast are glaciers calving?

The following image from the above video puts the speed glaciers are calving into perspective:

What is causing glaciers to calve?

Antarctic Glaciers suggests that the primary culprit of glacier calving is climate change. Across the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures are warming more than six times the national average.

Global temperatures have continuously been rising since humans are producing higher carbon dioxide emissions–causing many scientists to agree unanimously that global warming is anthropogenic (credit Robert A. Rohde).

What impact do melting glaciers have on the environment?

To analyse the impact of melting glaciers, the best way is to look at the effects rising sea levels will have on the environment.

The clip below from Futurama does a terrific job of explaining the impact of global warming and offers a satirical solution of dropping giant ice cubes into the ocean to replace the melted glaciers–needless to say this will not work!

  1. Drinking water will be contaminated.
  2. Agriculture will be devastated.
  3. Coastal ecosystems will be ruined.
  4. Wildlife that lives on beaches may face extinction from their habitat being destroyed.
  5. The economies of areas around beaches may be destroyed due to the decline of tourism.

What can I do to stop glaciers from calving?

In short, the solution to tackling glacier calving is for you to reduce your own individual carbon footprint. COTAP (Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty) have created a fantastic guide organised in sub-sections as to how you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a substantial change to the environment!


  1. Walk whenever possible.
  2. Either drive a car with high miles to the gallon, a hybrid or an electric car
  3. Do not buy a roof rack as they decrease fuel economy.
  4. Avoid speeding and unnecessary acceleration as this will increase your fuel consumption.
  5. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated as this can increase fuel economy by 3%.
  6. Make sure faulty oxygen sensors are fixed as this can increase fuel economy by 40%.
  7. Use websites such as Google Maps to avoid traffic.

Air travel

I recently wrote an article about how to fly in a more environmentally-friendly way in light of SolarImpulse being the first aeroplane to fly around the world using sustainable fuel.

Here are some condensed tips fromCOTAP to help reduce that pesky carbon footprint!:

  1. Avoid flying whenever possible and, if you do have to fly, use economy class.
  2. Take fewer and longer vacations.
  3. Utilize staycations.
  4. For businesses, use video conferencing tools such as Skype rather than flying employees across the world.
  5. Avoid using private jets.


  1. Insulate your home.
  2. Consider energy efficiency when buying a new product*.
  3. Turn off lights when they are not in use.
  4. Swap incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent LEDs.
  5. Do not set a thermostat too high or too low.
  6. Add solar panels to the roof of your home.

*For people that live in member states of the European Union, be careful when looking at the energy efficiency of vacuums as legislation from the European Court of Justice tests them when they do not have dust in the reciprocal. This means they often have high energy efficiency ratings of 700W but in fact when they are used this energy efficiency falls to 1600W. This is a reduction from a grade A to a grade E in terms of energy efficiency!


  1. Eat locally-produced organic food as food imports produce 13% of carbon emissions in the US alone.
  2. Cut out beef and dairy as much as possible as it takes a lot of resources to raise cows.


  1. Use less water.
  2. Reuse and recycle as 29% of American carbon dioxide emissions come from the provision of goods.
  3. Support sustainable energy sources and innovations such as the ones mentioned throughout this article!

Hopefully, with the above steps, you will be able to transform your life in a positive way all while making the world a better, safer and more sustainable place to be!


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