by Avery Schuyler Nunn
The planet inspires almost every facet of my being and is the subject of my work. These photos document the receding glaciers in Patagonia, specifically capturing a moment in which the ice is calving.
These Patagonian glaciers have been forming for millions of years. (Scientists estimate that this formation began during the last Ice Age, which started approximately 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago.) As greenhouse gases trap more energy from the sun, the oceans absorb more heat and the glaciers recede; the combination results in rising sea levels. As ice sheets melt at a faster rate, the loss of glacial ice also reduces the amount of freshwater available for plants and animals on land, greatly affecting the ecosystems.
Many people recognize that the climate has changed naturally many times before, shifting between glacial and interglacial periods, and some don’t believe that this time is any different. But as my climatology notes have reminded me: while it is true that the Earth is far older than 800,000 years and that it has experienced climate change throughout its multi-billion-year life, CO2 is currently entering the atmosphere at a rate faster than during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, one of the most dramatic warmings in Earth’s history.
Avery is a recent graduate of Lafayette College and a freelance photographer,
currently studying environmental and climate journalism at Columbia University
GraduateSchool of Journalism.
She is an avid lover of waves, mountains, and 70s music.