Near the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps is the beautiful Rhone Glacier. For the last several years, locals in central Switzerland have taken an unusual path towards saving the Rhone. They're covering it in blankets.
The billowing white blankets are an attempt to reflect sunlight and maintain what has become a popular tourist attraction in the area. While ironic at first blush, the blankets only warm you up because your body, unlike a glacier, is constantly radiating heat.
Historic wooden signposts in the area show that the glacier has lost around 350 meters (1148 feet) in ice thickness since 1856, with around 40 (131 feet) lost in the last 10 years alone.
While the blankets are certainly a low-tech solution to this particular global warming crisis, they do appear to be having some positive results. In 2015, David Volken, a glaciologist working with the Swiss environment ministry, that the blankets have been reducing melt by as much as 70 percent.
Other Swiss groups are looking towards technology for further ways to stave off the melt. that a group from Utrecht University hopes to save Switzerland's Morteratsch Glacier by blowing reflective artificial snow across its surface.
The blankets, all white save for a lone red Swiss flag, have a dramatic effect that other efforts cannot match. But amidst all the cleverness, there is a feeling of dread. While reflective tricks may slow down global melting, it cannot stop it.
"It will slow things down for a year or two, but one day they will have to take away the blankets because the ice underneath will be gone," said Jean-Pierre Guignard, a 76-year-old tourist from the Swiss town of Lausanne in the 2015 AFP interview. At that point, Guignard had 60 years of experience with the glacier, having first seen it in 1955.
"It has been heartbreaking to see the glacier shrink," he said at the time, "and today it is really painful to see it covered in blankets, to see this vain battle to save a dying mountain."