Iceberg Shipped to Spain to Melt in Sweltering Street — For Awareness

Trying to attract sponsors by wrapping expeditions with awareness-raising campaigns for good causes is a common expedition tactic. Sometimes, it gets out of control.

Such was the case of the team who came up with the idea of justifying a trip to Greenland by bringing a chunk of an iceberg in a fridge all the way back to southern Spain, just to let it melt in the middle of a street.

After a trip to southern Greenland, the organizers shipped a 15,000-kilogram piece of iceberg to Spain in a refrigerated container at -20ºC. The cargo is currently on its way to the Malaga Coast, in southern Spain. And why the fuss?

“So citizens can observe how the iceberg melts down, and thus raise awareness about global warming,” one organizer told Cope Radio.

For all the tourists sitting on terraces suffering the effects of withering Spanish heat over gin and tonics, a summer hot enough to melt icebergs will hardly come as a surprise. Calculating the carbon print and energetic cost of the stunt could be actually more surprising. At least, so think Malaga’s environmental associations.


“This is a greenwashing operation organized by Manuel Calvo and supported by Malaga’s local government,” Malaga’s section of Ecologistas en Accion (Spain’s biggest association of ecological groups) said.

They criticized the waste of energy and resources, as well as the iceberg-melting plan. “It is like trying to raise awareness against animal mistreatment by organizing a bullfight,” they said.

The environmentalists also noted that the organizers have simply justified “a joyride in Greenland” and taken advantage of some young cancer survivors.

Kayakers on a flat sea looking at a glacial icefront ending right on the sea .

Kayakers in southern Greenland. Photo: Tierras Polares


The organizer, Manuel Calvo, promoted the trip as a mission in which he would take five former cancer patients between 15 and 17 years old for the experience of a lifetime. Calvo also took his own son and daughter as coaches.

Tourism disguised as a ‘mission’

They toured part of Greenland’s southern fiords for two weeks by motor boat. They did a little kayaking and hiked up to a nunatak (a peak that pokes up above the ice sheet). A number of adventure-travel agencies, based in Spain and elsewhere, offer similar tours.

Calvo (left) smiles with a sausage in his hand, by a smily Greenlander, while at lunch.

Part of Calvo’s interaction with local Inuit was promoting Malaga’s cheeses and sausages. Photo: Sur Diario

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.