Alas, when the Ice is Crying

The glaciers are melting in Greenland. And Man is worried about the future of the world. In search of clues in a natural paradise.

By: Christoph Quarch | Photos: Sven Nieder | Translation: Donna Weidner

Is the glacier laughing or crying? Nukartaa does not need to search for the answer. “She is crying,” he says. “The ice is crying and the river that you are looking at there, is carrying her tears to the sea.” Nukartaa says this with a look of concern. Even he, a Greenlandic Elder, is close to tears. I am reminded of what I saw yesterday: turquoise blue lakes far inland lying on top of the ice. They looked like eyes peering up from the depths at the sky. We were on approach, landing in Kangerlussuaq. Then, my heart jumped for joy. But now, I am uneasy: The glacier is crying. Read more

The Ice Is Melting

Science and Prophecy

The Ancient One’s say that One Day, when the World needs it most, the Sacred Fire will come Home to the People on the Top of the World.
For thousands of years the people in the north fuelled their fires with oil from animals such as the seal and the arctic dolphin. Animals gave their lives so the people would have light and warmth. Now the climate is changing and the trees are standing again. The time has come for the Sacred Fires to be kindled with wood from Mother Earth. Read more

Return of the Sacred Fire

A Prophecy from the Top of the World is Fulfilled

For a very long time, Greenland was white. Only few strips of land along the coasts were green. Until one winter’s day in 1963 when two young hunters discovered something very disturbing: The huge ice walls were melting. They thought this was impossible since the temperature was well below minus 30 degrees. It was much too cold. And yet, drops of water fell upon them from up above. They ran back to the village to tell the Elders what they had experienced. “The ice is melting!” they reported. “Impossible!” The Elders also thought. “The ice cannot melt when it is so cold!” Yet, as the years passed, the drops became trickles, and later streams. Today, water shoots from the ice; ice that is only half as thick as it was forty years ago. Greenland is becoming green. Read more

A Portrait of the Eskimo Elder

Angaangaq refers to himself as an Eskimo. When I first met him he was dressed in traditional clothes wearing a fur skin, beating the great drum and singing with his full, deep voice. He looked exactly like an Eskimo from one of my childhood picture books. Read more

A Journey to our Hearts

Angaangaq, whose name means “The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle,” is an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder. Fondly known as “Uncle,” his family belongs to the healers and WisdomKeepers of the Far North. From Kalaallit Nunaat Greenland, Uncle is a healer whose traditions of storytelling, chanting, Qilaut drumming and performing ceremony are directed at Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man. “Uncle” is an internationally recognized Elder among native communities and a keynote speaker at international conferences and symposia on environmental and indigenous issues. His work in personal and global transformation has taken him to five continents and over 40 countries. Read more

Simply melting the ice

Several years ago I had the privilege of experiencing a woman melt the ice in the hearts of people in her midst with the simplest of gestures. On a Monday morning, I arrived at a bus station at the bottom of Mt. Washington in the heart of LA. The streets were fairly vacant with the exception of an older woman sitting at the bus stop. I greeted her and inquired if she knew much about the bus schedules. She glared at me as I asked her about what bus would take me to the train station and after sizing me up, she barked out the bus number. Her expression made it clear that no further inquiries would be welcome. Read more