Burning Ice: Art
Ice is the million-year-old history of our planet. From it we know what the air, temperature and world were like at any given point, just by analysing ice-core samples. Our actions are burning this cold library of ice.
There is no one kind of ice: we have sampled new sea ice, decade-old sea ice, glacier ice, diamond-clear ice, black ice, ice clouds that cause vertical light refractions. There are glaciers that move with speed, whole landscapes on the move, rocks and valleys sculpted by their force, and we have witnessed and nearly been entrapped as the sea froze solid before our eyes. The ice that sits upon waves, causing a sea to perambulate as in a frightening dream: sea and glacial ice that we have had to force a passage through aboard our boat, but which leaves no memory of our passing as it reforms neatly in our wake.
As a further experiment, the bucket of unmelted ice was placed on a cooking fire, and instead of melting, the ice began to \"burn\" - as described by Mel Waters, \"it was not so much a flame, as kind of a... have you ever used a gas stove? it was like the barest turning of a gas stove on- it was like that last flicker before you turn it off,\" the former \"ice\" cubes burning slightly.
The new substance could be used as a source of heat- \"One guy took some stuff home, he put it in his wood stove... and the thing's been keeping his place warm\" for over three months (september to january). This man reported to Mel that steam from a nearby kettle was absorbed by the burning ice, and that the area surrounding the burning ice was always very dry.
After a few months, for unknown reasons the stove with the burning ice crashed through the floor of the man's cabin. Weeks later, the man returned to find the entire cabin collapsed into \"wood dust,\" which Mel attributed to all the moisture being sucked out of the wood by the burning ice. On a later visit, the stove with the burning ice had sunk 5 feet into the ground.
At other sites they were used structurally, as paving or curbing, and even stacked against the back of a rock shelter wall as if cast aside. Paquettes also sometimes show signs of deliberate destruction, where they have been struck and broken, and burning could have been involved in that process.
On March 2, environmentalist Bill McKibben joined demonstrators who marched on a coal-fired power plant in Washington D.C. In this article for Yale Environment 360, he explains why he was ready to go to jail to protest the continued burning of coal.