We’ve been up visiting in Cambridge Mass. and have had the opportunity to see a couple of exhibits about climate change in our peregrinations. The photo here is from GlacierWorks, an organization founded by David Breashears, a documentary filmmaker who is on a mission to highlight the stunning loss of glacial mass in the Himalayas over the past hundred years. There is an exhibit now at the MIT Museum, Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya, that illustrates what’s happening there. It’s all pretty arresting.
I do wish the exhibit had gone into some degree of depth regarding what’s driving this phenomenon because it’s more than just warming. It’s also black carbon deposition. The work of pioneers like Veerabhadran Ramanathan should, in any event, be noted and the important task of relieving the burden of pollution that is helping to drive the melting needs to be much more greatly understood and accelerated. Clean cookstoves, for one, will go a long way to reducing the production of black carbon. This will at the same time ameliorate the devastating health problem that is caused by dirty cooking and heating fires in, among other places, South Asia. There is an international effort underway to not only get at this particular problem but to address all of the “short-lived pollutants” that are exacerbating climate change. There is in fact a Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, led by the US State Department, that is going after methane and fluorinated gases as well as black carbon.
If you’re up in the Boston area, both of these museums are great, particularly if you’ve got kids, and the climate exhibits are worth seeing while you’re taking in the whole experience.