Photo essay by Fridolin Walcher
Thoughts by Thomas Stocker


The eternal ice: cold, hard, silent. Greenland: a seemingly infinite expanse of white desert, a realm forbidding to humans. But a closer look reveals: it is moving, it is melting, it is disappearing maybe for good! Greenland is the harbinger of the man-made climate crisis that threatens the existence of this unique part of the world, one of the least explored on our beleaguered planet. Explorers have been fascinated by the sheer vastness of this foreign world, by the tempting challenge to discover it, and by the urge to understand its history. Scientists are drilling deep holes into the ice cap and extracting the history of our climate over the past 100,000 years. We are learning about the inner workings of the ice, about channels and rivers deep inside the ice, about its vulnerable surface that is being transformed into an icy sponge by global heating. Science reveals how fragile the Greenland ice sheet is. We know that natural warm periods in the past have eroded the Greenland ice over millennia and raised glo­bal sea levels. Today the heating caused by humankind’s relentless emissions of greenhouse gases is unleashing the same processes  but one hundred times fas­ter! We do not have to travel far to see the evidence. Glaciers around the world are sharing the same fate. Burning coal, oil and gas simply to extract various forms of energy from them, destroying pristine forests and poisoning soils for agro-industry have long mutated into dangerous actions that have set us on a path of irreversible changes to the planet and all its ecosystems.



Fridolin Walcher is a freelance photo- grapher living in the Swiss Alps. His publications and exhibitions over the years have studied the ways in which people change their living environment, and thus them- selves. In 2018 he joined the Swiss Greenland expedition, accompanying Swiss ice and climate researchers. The journey resulted in this photo series and the photographs in “The Glacier’s Essence”, published by Scheidegger & Spiess, 2020.


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