The world’s glaciers have been hard hit by the effects of global warming, and the aftermath is stark. The alarming rate that the glaciers are melting at translates to rising sea levels: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, estimates that in the past hundred years alone, sea levels around the globe have increased by an average of four to eight inches.
Switzerland’s Alps have not been spared either: In July this year, a mountaineer was shocked to find a large pool of water at an altitude of 3,400m—where one should normally see ice and snow—a sign that some say is a direct result of global warming.
Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie wants to help. Last month, the brand pledged its commitment to preserving Switzerland’s iconic glaciers by donating an unspecified sum to the ETH Zurich Foundation, in support of its glaciology department.
Patrick Rasquinet, Chief Executive Officer of La Prairie, says: “We firmly believe that it is essential to support academics working in the field of environmental research in order to protect not only the natural beauty of La Prairie’s birthplace, but to preserve its resources for generations to come.”
ETH Zurich is known as one of the world’s leading universities in the field of glacier studies. By studying glacier motions and through analyses of past and present glacier changes, the university’s Glaciology Section gives scientists and environmentalists a better understanding of the environment and the changes it is undergoing.
Professor Daniel Farinotti, head of ETH Zurich’s Glaciology Section, says: “This knowledge is not only essential to quantify and understand ongoing changes, but also to design and plan strategies for mitigating and adapting to changes yet to come.
“La Prairie’s support is a welcome contribution to our efforts.”
The gesture couldn’t have come at a better time. Just weeks after the brand made its pledge, Iceland issued the world’s first death certificate for its first glacier lost to climate change.
Scientists say that many glaciers in Europe will similarly lose much of their ice by 2100; The same study also found that even if emissions were to be reduced around the world today, about 50 per cent of glacier volume will be lost due to the current state of global warming.