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Scientists bid farewell to first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change

Iceland holds memorial for glacier

Scientists bid farewell to Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change. A demonstration on Sunday took place at the former site of the glacier, which once spanned six square miles and has since been renamed as "Ok."

Many Icelandic officials, activists and researchers came together to say goodbye and demand action towards fighting climate change. The mock funeral included a poetry reading, moments of silence and political speeches.

Attendees held up signs calling climate change a crisis and urging world leaders to declare it an emergency. "I know my grandchildren will ask me how this day was and why I didn't do enough," 17-year-old Gunnhildur Hallgrimsdottir told The Associated Press.

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People hold up signs as a monument was unveiled at the site of Okjokull, Iceland's first glacier lost to climate change in the west of Iceland on August 18, 2019. (Photo by Jeremie RICHARD / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP/Getty Images) Jeremie Richard / AFP/Getty Images

Although Icelandic geologist Oddur Sigurðsson marked the Okjokull glacier's extinction about a decade ago, he brought a death certificate to the memorial noting its August 2019 passing. A memorial plaque was installed at the site warning that "in the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path."

"This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it," the plaque's inscription added.

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A monument is unveiled at site of Okjokull, Iceland's first glacier lost to climate change in the west of Iceland on August 18, 2019. (Photo by Jeremie RICHARD / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP/Getty Images) Jeremie Richard / AFP/Getty Images

Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said, "We have no time to lose." The former Irish President Mary Robinson also issued a statement and said, "The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action."

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