Disappearing ice age

01 July 2011
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OVER THE PAST CENTURY, adventurers have travelled to Greenland to explore this unknown land of ice and myths. The pictures they brought back depicted heroes battling nature. Today, however, many of us know very little about life on the world’s largest island, where 57,600 inhabitants live on 19 percent of the land while the rest is covered with ice.

Greenland is going through a period of rapid change. The government is reconfiguring after hundreds of years under Danish rule. Climate change is reshaping the natural environment. As the global temperature rises, glaciers in Greenland are melting at a record pace, which in turn is threatening sea life and traditional livelihoods.

Triggered by her curiosity to take a deeper look at a culture in flux, Andrea Gjestvang first travelled to Greenland in 2008. Over the following years, she spent several weeks visiting small communities along the west and east coasts, and in the very north. Most of the inhabitants live in isolated settlements on the coastline, and with limited job opportunities, they depend directly on nature for survival. But while the idea of a strong hunting culture is alive in Greenlandic legends and myths, the reality is that life support in these villages often comes in the form of government social funding.

Andrea Gjestvang is an award-winning Norwegian freelance photographer based in Berlin. She studied photojournalism at the Oslo University College.

Keywords: Qaanaaq ice soccer Greenland disappearing ice age Andrea Gjestvang climate change