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Glaciers Will Break Your Heart

Today is Earth Day, though each day truly should be time to recognize our choices when it comes to the way to travel, the food we eat and the purchases we make. I thought I would re-post piece because of its importance.

“The glacier is the tremendous climate indicator showing the global effect of diverse factors over decades and balancing simultaneously accumulation and ablation over years and decades. In cold and wet years the glacier stores hundreds of million cubic meters of water in the form of ice and feeds our rivers in warm and dry periods with it.” – Albert Hein, 1916

Alestch Glacier, Bettmeralp, More2Explore, More 2 Explore, Glaciers, Swiss Alps

Standing at the base of the Rhone Glacier, I grasped my children tightly in my arms. The narrative in my mind was swirling, grateful that the glacier still existed to show my children before its demise, saddened at the clear evidence the human footprint has had and continues to have on our landscape.  The power of the glacier’s retreat was felt and the glacier proved to be a visual representation of what our consumption and production were and are doing to our planet.  “My God, what are we doing?”

Alestch Glacier, Bettmeralp, More2Explore, More 2 Explore, Glaciers, Swiss Alps

White sheets draped over the ice-providing make – shift protection, were hardly working. The scientists dedicated to the glacier are making every attempt to preserve what is left, their efforts admirable, the feat enormous.

Why are glaciers retreating at such rapid rates? Great question and one I have asked myself especially after witnessing their retreat this past summer on more than one occassion . Some scientists contribute the change to the Industrial Revolution which started in 1760 in Great Britain . Moving away from human created resources, we quickly moved to the use of machines to produce faster, quicker and more goods than before.  While the Industrial Revolution was responsible for the increase in the quality of life for many, the long – term environmental impacts due to heavy reliance on petroleum, coal, and chemicals, all contribute(d) to the degradation of our planet in ways we are only now beginning to understand.


Perhaps all those that deny climate change, are those that don’t spend adequate time outside. For those that do walk in the mountains, touch the rivers, and walk the shores of any ocean, are able to grasp how our world is changing. For if you stand at the base of a glacier and witness first – hand the ice retreating, the visible line along the mountain of what used to be, it is not hard to understand that we are in a period of grave change.


Switzerland’s landscape is rich with glaciers, 43 to be exact, with the Aletsch Glacier being the largest of them all. To see how these glaciers are retreating first hand, visit one of the glaciers and learn more. The Aletsch Glacier offers a great deal of helpful information regarding the history of the glacier and the future of where the glacier is headed. The Alpmuseum at Hohfluh located at the top of the lift is free of charge and offers tremendous insight on the past, present and future of glaciers.


“Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest.” – Plastic Coalition        

 Another thing to consider aside from the tragedy of melting glaciers, is the amount of plastic made, consumed and discarded in our world. According the Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist based out of UCSB, “Virtually all of the plastic we ever made is non-degradable.” Exactly how much plastic has been produced since its inception? We, as humans have produced over, “Eight point three billion metric tons of plastics produced so far.” Plastic is polluting our oceans and water sources, killing our birds and destroying our environment. Not only is plastic in our environment, but it is also showing up in our bodies.  We must ask ourselves if we can sustain this way of life and when the answer arrives, we then must be willing to make  drastic shifts in our choices and ultimately our behavior.


What can be done?

  • Say no to plastic water bottles and instead bring your own refillable bottle.
  • Do your best to avoid plastic all together. Be creative and demand better solutions. When a company is doing the right thing in the way of creating less pollution, thank them for their efforts.
  • San Francisco has banned Styrofoam, and the rest of the world should too.
  • Bring your own bags and reject the use of plastic bags.
  • Teach your children the value of enjoying experiences over things. By educating the next generation, hopefully we teach individuals that happiness can never be bought and that excess consumerism wreaks havoc on our planet.
  • Take your children outside and into nature. Let them witness the seasons, take care of the landscape and become advocates for the Earth.
  • Support companies that are doing their best to make an environmental shift, one such company is Patagonia.  Their mission statement seems to say it all.  “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”  Oh, and one more thing, if you want to define a hero, check out Yvon Chouinard, what an incredible inspiration.
  • Purchase used clothes and items, which keeps perfectly good items out of the trash and preserves the environment by not having to use the Earth’s resources for items we don’t need.
  • Take the time to think about what you purchase, what you actually need, where your stuff is made and where it will ultimately end up. Say no to shopping as a past time activity.
  • Take public transportation and if you reside in Switzerland, that choice is very, very easy to make.  Just ask us, we have been car free for 10 years!


I realize I have only touched the surface of environmental pollution, however, now that I am educating, raising and ultimately turning over the next generation of people to the planet, I feel compelled to share and hopefully inspire others to make a small difference. I am not claiming to be perfect or even plastic free, but I am trying to be more aware. Aware of my choices, the items I bring into our home and into the lives of the people I love the most.

2017-07-02-Swdal_235To continue the education, I have listed some helpful resources below. View, listen and read at your leisure, but let’s all commit to making one small change that can benefit the future of our planet and the lives of us as human beings.

“Health to the ocean means health to us.” -Sylvia Earle

Listen to a podcast with Jack Johnson:

Outside Podcast

Watch a short film:

Plastic Oceans

Pollution in the Maldives

Plastic Pollution

Read a book:

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

“All About Glaciers.” National Snow and Ice Data Center. Accessed 1 February 2016. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers.

Plastic Free Life

Oh, and if you love shell fish, consider the food that shows up on your plate.

Let’s continue the dialogue!



Quotes to Live By


Ladies, this one is for you. I’m not sure who said it, but boy, do I LOVE it!

“Strong is the new SEXY.”



So today, move through this world and be brave. Be strong, do the thing that scares you. Say what you mean. Do not pay any attention to those that stand in your way. Lift the weights and do not worry about creating bigger, stronger, faster muscles because ladies, strong = sexy.

Outdoor Kids

As a parent, I smile when I reflect on images on my children immersed in nature. Something I have always wanted for them as children, is for them to feel at home in the natural world. To feel safe to explore, to tinker, to discover and to embrace all that the great outdoors have to offer. I want both of my children to find fascination in animals and insects, treating such creatures with great regard. I want them to tread lightly on the Earth, dispose of trash properly and to never take the miracles they witness for granted. I want them to stride with both ease and respect on trails and through forests throughout their lifetimes.


The best way I know of teaching my children a deep respect and love for this planet is by taking them into the forests, allowing them to hike on both familiar and unfamiliar trails as frequently as possible. I want them to never shy away from a cold or windy day, to embrace a deluge of snow, and to feel rain on their sweet faces. For the seasons make us feel alive and connected to something bigger than ourselves.


The natural world is rich with gifts and we as parents, must feel compelled to share those gifts with our children. We must ignite their interest in nature so that in the years to come, they will be stewards of this remarkable planet.

As a family take the time to witness the sunrise and the sunset, which we promise, will leave you full of wonder.

Push Your Kids A Bit Harder


The title of this post is, “Push Your Kids A Bit Harder” and before you go any further, yes, I did say that. We are asked all the time how we get our children to hike. To be honest, that is not a one answer response. The answer to that is a web of several responses, but the importance of my response is that sometimes we have to push our children to cover the kilometers required to complete a hike because we believe there are valuable lessons to be learned by pushing through and completing a required task. There are studies on the value of teaching our children true grit and well, we happen to agree.


No we are not mean, and no, we are not ruthless in our requirements (no Everest prep-hikes here), but we do know that our children are far more capable of covering kilometers than we give them credit for. Let me take a moment to state that we do take adequate breaks, pack plenty of snacks and rarely venture out on a trail that doesn’t offer some type of kid eye-candy for our children to marvel at. We believe that because we live in such a gorgeous, naturally rich country, it would be an injustice not to share the natural world with our children and thus, we hike through forests, on local trails and yes, in the Alps too.


Both of our children are equipped with backpacks, water, snacks, compasses and binoculars, all of which allow them the freedom to pick and choose which items they need and or want at any given time. They both also sport Swiss Army Knives, which they use for whittling sticks and carving. Supervised of course and never while we hike. The natural world has taught them and us for that matter, valuable life lessons, skills, and has provided the backdrop for creating some of our most incredible family memories imaginable.


Of course our children whimper on occasion and whine on the trail, but the number of smiles and miracles uncovered far outweigh the moments of frustration. As parents, we feel one of the greatest gifts we have bestowed upon our children has been the gift of feeling both in awe and comfortable in nature. We hope those gift serve our children well throughout their lifetimes.

On a side note, we teach our readers how to hike with children in our new book, Fresh Air Kids Switzerland.