Aviator races to photograph all glaciers

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. the clock is ticking / ðə klɒk ɪz ˈtɪk ɪŋ / (idiom) – used to say that time is passing quickly and there’s not much time left to do something

    We have to resolve the issue before the client backs out. The clock is ticking on this deal.

  2. squarely / ˈskwɛər li / (adv.) – directly

    The organization’s efforts are aimed squarely at making children feel they belong.

  3. posterity / pɒˈstɛr ɪ ti / (n.) – future generations

    We must protect the environment for posterity.

  4. demise / dɪˈmaɪz / (n.) – the end of the existence of something

    Climate change is one of the reasons for the demise of extinct animals.

  5. invaluable / ɪnˈvæl yu ə bəl / (adj.) – extremely useful and having great value

    The researchers’ findings are invaluable to the scientific community.


Read the text below.

Garrett Fisher is traveling the world in his tiny blue-white “Super Cub” aircraft, on a quest to document every remaining glacier on Earth.

The 41-year-old Fisher does it for a simple reason: “Because I love them.”

But he does it, too, because of weightier things. Because the climate clock is ticking, and the planet’s glaciers are melting. Because Fisher is convinced documenting, archiving, and remembering all of these serve a purpose.

“In 100 or 200 years, most of them will be gone or severely curtailed,” Fisher says. “It is the front line of climate change … the first indication that we’re losing something.”

So, he’s building an archive of his glacier photography and he aims his efforts squarely at posterity. He believes any documentation he makes before the glaciers’ demise could be invaluable to future generations.

He has launched a glacier initiative, a not-for-profit to support and showcase his work, and he plans to open his archive to the public for research – some now, the rest when he is gone.

Many glaciers are remote and hard to reach or document – forcing Fisher to navigate dangerous environments. Why risk it?

He’s chasing the perfect image; one so beautiful it can make people and policymakers act. And if it isn’t one image, then maybe an entire archive convinces people to come, to look, to get close, and to pay attention.

“We can live without them. We will live without them,” Fisher says. “However, it hurts us to lose them.”

Everything disappears. But not yet. There is still time, and Garrett Fisher has an airplane and a camera and is not turning away.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What do you think is the importance of capturing the images of the remaining glaciers? Discuss.
  • Fisher said he’s chasing an image so beautiful it can make people and policymakers act. Do you think it will work? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Fisher has launched a not-for-profit glacier initiative that showcases his work and can be used by the public for research. If you could start a non-profit initiative, what would you like to do? Why? Discuss.
  • Fisher aims his efforts squarely at posterity. If you could leave anything behind for future generations, what would it be? Why? Discuss.