Letter: Melting glaciers could have broader impacts

Dear Editor,

This responds to Mr. Tom Fletcher’s January 3 article: “Wishful Thinking.”

Dear Mr. Fletcher,

I enjoy reading your opinions but disagree with most of them. Your comments on Climate Change are interesting. But unhelpful.

May I provide a Climate Change example that could/will have social and economic consequences in Golden?

The Blaeberry Valley has glaciers at the head of it. Normally these glaciers grow in the winter and melt in the summer. When they melt they even out the river’s flow. They have been—and are—rapidly melting due to warmer summers and milder winters.

Scientists from the University of Calgary are assessing how fast this melt is happening and have recently sounded the alarm over a new factor. The past two hot summers have been dominated by large forest fires that have deposited layers of ash on the glaciers.

Clean ice reflects sunlight. Ash-covered ice absorbs sunlight—and accelerates the melt.

Many families now live or vacation in the Blaeberry Valley.

Nearly all will have a shallow well as their water supply. When melted away, glaciers will no longer function to “even” the river’s flow. A hot dry summer could cause the un-replenished groundwater to drop and some—or many—of those wells could go dry.

Drinking water may have to be hauled.

Septic systems may not function properly.

Rafting might prove undoable.

After several such summers—which are foreseeable—property values would fall and land investments could lose value.

So what can the individual do? I am saving money to buy an electric car.

That will decouple me from fossil fuels, pipelines, oil spills, and irresponsible corporations.

I will enjoy the birds and other animals that will certainly show their appreciation.


Ralph van Drielen

Golden, B.C.

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