National Geographic | As glaciers disappear, humans lose a lot more than ice

A warming world is profoundly changing human culture and history—and it may just be the beginning.

For a couple of years I was living on the south coast of Iceland, and one day, a man knocked on the door of my home.

He asked if I wanted to see something. No adjectives. Just, did I want to see something?

I almost didn’t hear his knock. My house was on the extreme southeastern coast of the island—literally twenty feet from the sea—and strong winds were bashing the concrete walls and making the tin roof shriek with each gust.

I considered. It was cold, the wintery light was growing dim, I was a foreigner in the area, and if I went missing, no one would go looking for me for days. But then again, it was Iceland, one of the safest places in the world. And my curiosity was piqued.

I agreed and grabbed my nine-hundred-fill down jacket, gloves, and a hat. I ran outside and stepped high up into his Icelandic super jeep—the type that requires a little ladder to climb into the cab—and we drove slowly through the orderly, windblown streets of the village of Höfn.

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Ani Pendergast

Outlined Design, Bremerton, WA