Walk along melting glaciers, learn about climate change

Grindelwald (Switzerland), Aug 30 (Inditop.com) The big tourist draws at this Alpine wonderland are melting away. But 1,000-odd tourists who come here every day can learn all about the cause – climate change – thanks to a special multimedia guide.

Experts at Bern University have recently developed a sensitisation programme on global warming with the help of a multi-media guide on i-phones. he i-phones aided with global positioning system (GPS) not only help visitors keep track of their location at seven different ‘climate paths’ at Grindelwald but also sensitises them about climate change.

“The programme was started in June and till now 400 hikers have taken benefit of the technological aid. Visitors can collect i-phones at tourist offices in Grindelwald,” Kaspar Meuli, an expert at the University of Bern, told a visiting Inditop correspondent during one of the climate walks here.

“Climate change is happening, and the Alps are already feeling the impact. The seven paths on the climate walk point out the first signs of climate change in the region. Here visitors can learn about climate and climate change, right on the spot,” added Meuli.

The i-phones, aided with audio-visual clippings, offer information on climate change and the threat it poses to humanity. It also identifies flora and fauna and gives tips on the use of cars and fuel consumption.

The climate paths are either a pleasant stroll or an easy mountain hike. Each path is approximately 3.5 km.

“Both Grindelwald glaciers are melting fast. Once the glaciers were full of ice masses, but since 1850 there has been a constant disappearance of the ice masses in Grindelwald glaciers,” lamented Meuli.

“At the current rate at which the glaciers are melting, experts predict, three quarters of Switzerland’s glaciers will disappear in the next few decades. The appeal of the Alps will change. No one knows how tourists will react to this,” he added.

Talking about the role of Bern University in conducting climate research, rector Urs Wurgler said the university had been conducting research over a broad front, long before climate change was on everyone’s lips.

“Designing i-phones as a climate guide is part of our expansion in sensitising people on climate change. We have taken upon ourselves the responsibility to generate awareness among masses about climate change,” he said.

German tourist Ingrid Joseph congratulated the university for coming up with the multimedia guide.

“It is truly helpful for hikers. Along with being a companion in keeping to the right track, i-phones provide good lessons on climate change and its effect and how every individual can help save the environment,” Joseph said.