In 1999 I travelled to Iceland to document a number of the country’s glaciers from the air. Back then, I thought of the glaciers as beyond human influence. They were awe-inspiring and exhilaratingly beautiful. They seemed immobile, eternal. I was struck at the time by the difference between the human scale and the scale of geo-history. For me a glacier or a rock seem solid, but on the geological scale, rocks and glaciers are constantly in motion.
This summer, twenty years later, I went back to photograph the same glaciers from the same angle and at the same distance. Flying over the glaciers again, I was shocked to see the difference. Of course, I know that global heating means melting ice and I expected the glaciers to have changed, but I simply could not imagine the extent of change. All have shrunk considerably and some are even difficult to find again. Clearly this should not be the case, since glacial ice does not melt and reform each year, like sea ice. Once a glacier melts, it is gone. Forever. It was only in seeing the difference between then and now – a mere twenty years later – that I came to fully understand what is happening. The photos make the consequences of human actions on the environment vividly real. They make the consequences felt.
This August, I joined a group of people to commemorate the passing of Okjökull, the first glacier in Iceland to vanish entirely as a result of human activity. It was a humbling experience. A plaque laid at the site bears an inscription, drafted by the Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason, that poses a question to future generations: ‘We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.’
Natasha Khan makes music under the name Bat for Lashes. She’s released five albums, including Lost Girls, which came out in September 2019. In this episode, she breaks down the making of the lead single from that album, called “Kids in the Dark.” But just before she started writing it, she wasn’t sure if she would make another album at all.
Be smart and secure when choosing tech gifts for children and young people this year.
What’s fact and what’s fiction?
As legend holds, he was commissioned to remix alt-rockers The Lemonheads, but when the courier came for the tape, he had nothing to turn in; he either didn’t listen to the original or “couldn’t be bothered to do their track ’cause it was so shit.” Instead, he grabbed an old track, handed it over, and was paid four grand for his work. “Strangely, they never released it,” he told Loaded (which makes confirming this one particularly difficult). “They should’ve been honoured, I reckon. It would have sounded better than any rubbish song they wrote.”
One of the most interesting thing about working as a principal in a school is that there are many issues that I’d love to write about… but I can’t. Scenarios can easily by attributed to actual people, students/parents/teachers/staff/colleagues, and that would be unprofessional. Sometimes that makes writing this blog daily rather difficult, because much of my day is broken up into a series of things that are too personal or too specific to mention. Even in explaining this, I started to write a few ‘for example’ scenarios and thought better of it after trying. I don’t have a right to share things that can affect other people’s lives in a negative way, but I also don’t want to sanitize my thinking around a topic and make my writing unauthentic.
Awareness of the damage caused by our addiction to sand is growing. A number of scientists are working on ways to replace sand in concrete with other materials, including fly ash, the material left over by coal-fired power stations; shredded plastic; and even crushed oil palm shells and rice husks. Others are developing concrete that requires less sand, while researchers are also looking at more effective ways to grind down and recycle concrete.
Middlemarch itself is the true hero – the fictional small town that gives the book its title. The name suggests a place that is geographically and metaphorically central (Middle-) and also peripheral (-march, as in marches or borderlands). It is a book that absolutely belongs to the English Midlands, but its author breathed into it all the sensibilities of a life marinated in European culture (an important section is set in Rome). Eliot was a European intellectual with a working knowledge of five ancient and modern languages, who translated important works of German theology; Middlemarch was compared to Sand, Balzac and Flaubert by 19th-century critics.
Here are some things you should consider as you begin your journey from educator to learning technology provider.
Linda Marigliano talks to artists to find out the stories behind your favourite songs.Subscribe to the Inspired podcast for weekly episodes.