Hope for a better future

This story was first published on LinkedIn by Morten Vollmann.

What do the grapes in Camargue have in common with the glaciers in Switzerland?

Every year since I moved to Switzerland, I lead an expedition with friends to the Glacier 3000 to observe its melting rate and to raise awareness about climate change.

This year the expedition was different.

For 2000 years, the Col De Zanfleuron has been covered with glacial ice. Today, I was among the last people that stepped on this glacial ice. In 3 weeks this glacial connection between Wallis and Waadt will have melted— probably forever. Due to climate change, the glacier is melting at an alarming rate and you can see it "cry".

2 weeks prior to the expedition I had the privilege to be part of Roche Continents, which brought together 57 students from all over Europe in Arles, France. Among the many interesting workshops and discussions, I would like to highlight the field trip we did to investigate the soil salinity in the Camargue with local researchers. Rising sea level and droughts have increased the salinity to a point where even the wine that they grow tastes salty. In some ponds we even measured twice the salt level than in the sea… the situation in Camargue has left the scientist with little hope.

The melting ice from swiss glaciers only contributes up to 10% of the freshwater supply of the Camargue. However, if this water supply dies, the situation in the Camargue will only get worse. The local plants can only take so much salinity before they die.

Even though the situation seems desperate and impossible to overcome, I still have hope. What keeps me hoping is the new generation of young bright and motivated students, ready to change the world by innovation. I want to thank everyone who is fighting towards a better future and helped organize this special event.

Roche Continents is a philanthropic programme bringing together top talents studying at European universities to engage with renowned scientists and artists, and other students, encouraging dialogue, innovation and curiosity. Established in 2007, the programme is now held in partnership with LUMA, Arles. Students are immersed for a week in theoretical and practical experiences exploring the parallels between the arts and science.

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