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Icelandic activists host funeral for nation's first glacier to go extinct

People gathering around a makeshift memorial for the glacier. Photo: JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP/Getty Images
A monument is unveiled at the site of Okjokull, Iceland's first glacier lost to climate change in the west of Iceland, Aug. 18. Photo: Jeremie Richard/AFP/Getty Images

About 100 people in Iceland trekked 2 hours up a volcano to formally bid farewell to the glacier once known as Okjokull, offering their condolences to the ice mass that disappeared about a decade ago, AP reports.

The big picture: This was the nation's first glacier to formally go extinct, but Icelandic geologist Oddur Sigurðsson says it won't be the last. He predicts all of the nation's glaciers will be gone in 200 years as temperatures continue to rise as a result of man-made climate change, causing global sea-level rise. The glacier had been 6 square miles wide and was a source of clean drinking water.

Quote"The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action.”
— Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland

What's next: Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nordic leaders this week, where she says she'll make climate change a priority for discussions. "We see the consequences of the climate crisis," Jakobsdóttir said at the funeral. "We have no time to lose."

Plaque commemorating extinct glacier
A monument is unveiled at site of Okjokull. Photo: Jeremie Richard/AFP/Getty Images

Go deeper: All the global temperature records broken in 2019, so far