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Coast Mountains #16, British Columbia, Canada, 2023 "Recent reports on the world's remaining glaciers provide sobering news. Estimates are that most of Western Canada's glaciers will be lost to melting within the next 80 years. By the end of this century, they could all be gone. My daughters, who are in their 20s, will not be looking at the same world when they are my age. These images are a reminder of what's being lost - relics of ancient ice and an essential resource for ecosystems and freshwater in these parts of the world

THIS frigid scene in the Coast mountains in British Columbia, Canada, is a sight to behold – but enjoy it while you can as it may not be like this for much longer.

When snow falls in places like this, it becomes compacted into thick ice that flows over the land and forms a glacier, creating giant reservoirs of water that sustain life when melting occurs. These are an ancient and vital resource.


The process of glaciation has been happening throughout most of Earth’s history. But many of these icy relics are at risk of being lost, says photographer and artist Edward Burtynsky. That is the message behind this photo, on display in the New Works exhibition at the Flowers Gallery in London from 28 February until 6 April.

Burtynsky took the shot from a helicopter and was shocked to see that the glaciers had receded dramatically compared with 20 years ago, when he last visited. The glaciers in this range date as far back as 150,000 years, but they are shrinking rapidly because of warming as a result of human activity.

“When that’s gone, it’s gone, and the whole ecosystem and the whole life system will change forever,” says Burtynsky. His images are designed to serve as a reminder of what has been lost, he says. New Works also focuses on soil erosion in Turkey and the impact of coal mining on Australia.

Burtynsky is currently displaying in another exhibition in London, Extraction/Abstraction. This also explores the human impact on the planet and is at the Saatchi Gallery until 6 May.

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