Friday, August 14, 2009

Papal blessing sought for melting glacier

Published: Aug. 14, 2009 at 1:50 PM

SION, Switzerland, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The mayor of Fiesch, Switzerland, says he is confident Pope Benedict XVI will give his blessing regarding the ongoing melting of the Aletsch glacier.

Fiesch Mayor Herbert Volken said while area residents since 1678 had been concerned with advancements by the Aletsch glacier, now residents are seeking Vatican assistance as the Alps' largest glacier is slowly melting away, Swissinfo reported Friday.

"In his Easter message this year the head of the Catholic Church addressed the issue of climate change. It's a burning global issue," Volken said.

The Rev. Pascal Venetz, a priest in Fiesch, will make a formal request to the Vatican for the pope's support.

"We should pray that our glacier does not melt any further, but instead grows, and that the most important thing in life, water, remains well preserved," Venetz said.

The Aletsch glacier contains 26.5 billion tons of ice and covers 46.3 square miles.

Swissinfo said, according to a study, glaciers in Switzerland have decreased by 12 percent in the last decade thanks to light winters and increasing temperatures.


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