Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor and Prince Albert II of Monaco have endorsed in a joint letter the Slovenian Olympic Committee’s (OKS) project termed Mission: Triglav Glacier to Beijing, Pahor’s office said in a press release on Monday.
The campaign will see a fraction of ice from the Slovenian Triglav glacier travel to the Beijing Olympics to raise awareness about the consequences of global warming, not only the melting of glaciers but also the disappearance of winter sports and winter Olympics.
“Global warming is becoming a key obstacle that we as a society have to overcome to protect the environment and thereby the future of sport,” the letter reads.
“In Europe, there are not many cases showing as clearly the effects of climate change as the melting of Alpine glaciers, which are vanishing in front of our eyes. Without glaciers, winters as we know them today are endangered, and without them winter sports and winter Olympic Games also have no future.”
By showing how global warming has concrete effects, the project aims at encouraging small but immediate changes to personal habits.
Pahor decided to support it by becoming its honorary sponsor in November when the participating Slovenian institutions presented the project to him.
Once the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to join in, support was also expressed by Prince Albert II of Monaco, who chairs the IOC commission for sustainability and legacy.
As the ice from the glacier started its 13,000-kilometre journey to Beijing last Thursday, Pahor received some of its representatives, including Franci Petek, director of the Planica Nordic Centre, and Ciril Komotar, the project’s ambassador.
On Saturday, Prince Albert II received in Monaco Gregor Benčina, the OKS president’s adviser, together with the team behind Mission: Triglav Glacier to Beijing, which the OKS sees as major recognition for Olympism in Slovenia and as the project gaining further international traction.
On this occasion, the prince signed the joint letter to support the project and symbolically connect Slovenia and Monaco in efforts to preserve glaciers and the global climate, the OKS said.
In the coming 33 days, the piece of ice from Mount Triglav – termed Toli – will travel across much of Europe via Russia to China to be exhibited in Beijing during the Olympics. Information about Toli’s journey can be followed on the project’s website ledenik.olympic.si.