A new film has been created by academics at Dundee University and Royal Holloway, highlighting the importance of the diminishing state of the world’s glaciers to younger generation.
Skálafellsjökull credit Dr Kieran Baxter-University of Dundee
Glaciologist Dr Simon Cook, from Dundee’s School of Social Sciences, and Dr Bethan Davies, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway agreed that this year’s UN Climate change COP26 summit in Glasgow will provide an ideal platform to educate young people about the climate emergency that the planet is facing.
The new educational short film, Glacier Mass Balance, has earned a Silver Publishers Award from the Geographical Association for showcasing how global climate change is causing most glaciers around the world to shrink.
The film was developed by the University of Dundee and Royal Holloway to educate secondary school pupils about these natural phenomena and the peril they are facing.
Dr Bethan Davies, added: “Globally, melt from glaciers contributes to 21% of sea level rise, which is more than melt from Greenland and Antarctica.
“The coherent recession of glaciers is one of the most visible and clear signals of global climate change, and the loss of these ice masses could affect water supplies, increase hazards from ice avalanches or glacier lake outburst floods, and contribute to coastal flooding.
“We are delighted to highlight this important topic just in time for COP26 with our new film.”
Dr Simon Cook, added: “Like a bank account, where money flows in and out, the same can be said for glaciers, with snow adding mass to the glacier budget and meltwater being subtracted from it.
“Sadly, the world’s glaciers are running a deficit which means they are receding, which has implications ranging from tourism to hydropower generation to the reliability of water supply to almost two billion people globally.”
Simon co-wrote the script for Glacier Mass Balance with Dr Bethan Davies, for the Time for Geography initiative, a series of open-access educational videos for school pupils.
The judges commended the film for managing to tackle complex concepts in an accessible and engaging way, for introducing and using technical language effectively, and commented on the innovative video style and footage.
The film also features footage captured by Dr Kieran Baxter, a lecturer in Communication Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, whose work in studying the retreat of glaciers across Europe has seen him featured across UK and international media.
Simon continued: “This is the first time the UK has hosted this hugely important COP26 summit and it is an opportunity to put the climate crisis at the heart of the news agenda.
“Climate change is happening, and I hope that our film can help to highlight to younger generations that our actions are having a lasting and irreversible impact on our planet.”