The Swiss Alps have given us so much of its natural resources – and now it’s time to give a bit back. Luxury beauty brand La Prairie takes charge.
Meryl Streep’s brilliantly cold and sardonic Miranda Priestly may have rebuked Anne Hathaway’s clueless Andy Sachs for moving at a glacial pace in The Devil Wears Prada – and we may have laughed along with it – but today’s glacial movements are no laughing matter. Climate change is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and we are rapidly seeing glaciers and ice caps melt and recede before our eyes. In Switzerland, the effects are immediately apparent. Glacial pace is no longer an indiscernible, abstract concept. It’s alarming how fast the ice masses are shrinking on the Swiss Alps.
The impact of climate change is staggering. Over the long term, receding glaciers will mean that there will be less water resources from ice melt. Beyond the Swiss Alps, the ice melt from glaciers and ice caps will result in the changes to our sea levels, too. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, sea levels have risen between 10 to 20 centimetres in the last 100 years.
What does this mean for humanity and our environment? We’re already seeing more cases of extreme flooding and hurricanes in all parts of the world, and severe droughts in others. These changes are coming fast – and there’s no knowing what other horrors we’re likely to witness in the near future.
What would you do if your home was about to be destroyed right in front of you? What lengths would you go to in an attempt to save it? These are the questions posed to La Prairie, since the brand calls Switzerland and the Alps its home. In the face of these looming threats, the premium skincare brand has made saving Switzerland’s rich natural resources and protecting its landscapes a top priority. In August 2019, La Prairie made a generous donation to the ETH Zurich Foundation to aid in its research in glaciology, providing much appreciated funding to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics school.
The university’s department is internationally recognised for its expertise in glacier studies, ceaselessly pushing the boundaries of knowledge in the domain of glaciological research. Indeed, there is much to be examined in the fundamental mechanisms of glacier motion. By measuring the past, we can more easily model future glacier changes and assess the ongoing changes in our climate – changes for which we are hugely unprepared.
“This knowledge is not only essential to quantify and understand ongoing changes, but also to design and plan strategies for mitigating and adapting to changes yet to come,” explains Daniel Farinotti, head of the glaciology department at ETH. “La Prairie’s support is a welcome contribution to our efforts.”
“ETH’s pioneering spirit is very much in line with La Prairie’s strength in innovative and tech-proven skincare formulas” says Patrick Rasquinet, the brand’s CEO. “We firmly believe that it is essential to support and encourage academics working in the field of environmental research – not only to protect the natural beauty of La Prairie’s birthplace, but also to preserve its resources for generations to come.”
This feature originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2020 print issue of #legend