Years ago, businessman Larry Lazar thought global warming was shaky science — a topic debated on the news, but not something he took seriously. That changed during a family vacation.


Lazar: “It was June 2008, and my family was at Portage Glacier Visitor Center near Seward, Alaska. Nice lake, but we couldn’t see the glacier anywhere. How can you have a glacier visitor’s center when you can’t even see the darned thing?”

A photograph from the 1990s proves the glacier could once be seen from the visitor’s center. But just a decade later, Lazar’s family had to take a long boat ride up the lake to find it.

Lazar: “This made it very clear that global warming is real. Unfortunately, that’s not what I had been hearing on radio and TV back home in St. Louis. I reflected on this a great deal on the return trip. When I got home, I turned off the radio and TV and I opened some books. I started with James Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren and continued from there. The more I learned, the more aha moments I had — many of them alarming, which is why I speak out today to protect the climate.”

Today, Lazar is a presenter for the Climate Reality Project, helping educate other Americans about global warming.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Portage Glacier has retreated substantially since this image was taken in 1958 (source: Wikipedia).

More Resources
A Century of Retreat at Portage Glacier, South-Central Alaska

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...