With global challenges such as climate change, we need global and innovative solutions. Scientists and researchers have been finding new ways to protect our environment. This is the case for the Arctic Ice Project, but like any new solution, there are many doubts. Here is what you have to know about this project.
The Arctic Ice Project is a non-profit organization that intends to restore the Arctic’s natural heat shield in order to alleviate the impact of climate change. This project has been innovating new ways of preserving ice for a decade. Headed by Dr. Leslie Field in 2008 in California, and previously under the name of Ice911, its approach is restoring ice by improving ice reflectivity and slow the rate of global warming.
The warmer it gets, the more ice dissolves into water, absorbing the sun’s warmth in lieu of reflecting it. Over the last few decades, the Arctic has lost over 95% of its oldest, thickest, and most reflective ice. Furthermore, Arctic sea ice has been declining 10% per decade, and there could even be the possibility of ice-free Arctic summers by 2035. The Arctic Ice project aims to mitigate the impact of global warming through their solutions, estimating that they could buy up to fifteen more years for our economies to decarbonize towards a more sustainable future.
Since its incorporation, the Arctic Ice Project has tested several materials that could create a protective barrier to the sea ice. The main material they are placing on top of the ice to create a reflective material, as well as initiate ice regrowth is silicon dioxide, a material that is used to make glass. Field has fragmented the material into hollow small beads that float on water and continue to reflect sunlight.
There has been speculation about whether these beads are helpful or not. Certain researchers and scientists feel that although well-intentioned, they could affect the ecosystem in the Arctic. As the beads are floating around indefinitely, there is not a plan set in place on how they could potentially impact the ocean.
Innovative solutions such as this one take time, research, and experimentation, and this is why more research is needed for the impact the beads could have on their ecosystem. In order to move into a more sustainable future, we need to start taking into consideration all environments, not just our own, this is what I got us where we are, isn’t it?