Ski resort staff in one of Switzerland’s most popular Alpine destinations on Mount Titlis have been trying to limit the impacts of climate change by tucking in the mountain’s precious glacial slopes in specially made protective blankets.
Mount Titlis, which stands at 3,238 meters (10,623 feet), has sustained large losses of swathes of ice from its glacier over the past few decades. According to the Swiss government, 90 percent of Mount Titlis’ remaining 1,500 glaciers will completely melt away by 2100 if we fail to sufficiently curb our greenhouse gas emissions, posing an existential threat to local industries.
To protect their livelihoods and to slow down the melting, workers from one of the local skiing resorts have been continually sewing together protective fleece blankets that reflect the sun’s rays to help radiate the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere, keeping the snow underneath cool. Collected snow is then used to fill the glacial cracks and to hold the lift supports in place that are fixed into the ice.
The blanket, which now covers a cumulative area of more than a million square feet (around 14 soccer fields), is spread over the glacier by a handful of employees who work tirelessly for around five to six weeks before they have to spend weeks peeling it back off again when winter arrives.
The climate crisis is being felt all over the world right now. While this solution doesn’t address the root of the problem of global warming, it may help us buy some time while we work on strategies to meet the climate crisis head-on.