ROB MURRAY: I’m speaking with local author Lynn Martel. Your latest book is out this week – Stories of Ice: Adventure, Commerce and Creativity on Canada’s Glaciers. What’s it about?

LYNN MARTEL: It’s about how glaciers are part of our lives in Western Canada. Canada has more glaciers than anywhere except for Antarctica and Greenland. Most of our glacier ice is in the Arctic, but we have thousands of glaciers left in Alberta and BC. A lot of them are very small and they’re all shrinking every day at different rates, but we have quite a few that are accessible and people are out on glaciers every single day of the year. I think in the general public’s mind glaciers are places where scientists go and study them and it kind of ends there. There’s not a lot of books, I haven’t seen any really, that look at glaciers from a broader perspective. For us in Western Canada there are mountain climbers, professional guides, business owners, artists, and photographers who are out on glaciers all the time. Of course, because they are such dramatic landscapes, glaciers lend themselves really well to good stories.

RM: You mentioned photographers. Is there photography included in your book?

LM: Loads of photography. I have a lot of my own photos in there, but around the Bow Valley we have so many talented photographers. I reached out to about 20 photographers from across Western Canada and it was amazing that almost every single one of them said yes, and let me have two or three shots. There’s more than a hundred pictures in the book.

RM: I read an article recently that scientists are saying that by 2100 Alberta and BC will have lost about 70% of their glaciers. Do you explore the climate change aspect?

LM: I do, because you can’t talk about glaciers without understanding and feeling how they are diminishing. I read a report from an ACMG mountain guide who’d taken a group up onto the Wapta via Peyto Glacier. They could hardly get on the glacier because the lake at the base of the glacier has gotten so big. It was barely connecting to the ice anymore. Climate change and glaciers – they’re the same story. Glaciers are the bellwethers of climate change.

RM: Who do you think would be interested in the book?

LM: I’d be thrilled if Canadians across the board would read this book because you’ll learn a lot about a landscape you know nothing about if you’re not a person who spends time on glaciers. Anybody who enjoys adventure stories and enjoys stories of landscape and nature. A very uniquely Canadian culture and relationship. There is a whole section on science and we actually have some of the best in the world right here in the Bow Valley based out of Canmore from the University of Saskatchewan Centre of Hydrology. There’s a such a huge variety of work going on and there’s so much to learn from our glaciers.

RM: Where can people pick this one up?

LM: In the Bow Valley, Cafe Books, but it’ll be on Amazon and Indigo, the usual places.

RM: I know a COVID makes it really challenged to do like a book launch or a book release party. Are you going to be doing any kind of presentations here?

LM: The Banff Centre Mountain Film & Book Festival is doing an online version this year. There are seven authors who are going to be participating in group discussions and doing a little reading from our new books. It’s four Canadian authors and three British ones. I’m one of the Canadian authors who will be part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival online version this year.

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