The Worth of Nature: Valuations of Glaciers in Alaskan and Norwegian Media Discourse




Catherine J. Bruns and Ida V. Andersen


This article presents a comparative case study of public valuation of glaciers in Alaska and Norway. The first case examines Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier, which has been central in public debate over the US Forest Service’s proposed expansion of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. The second case centers on Norway’s Svartisen glacier, which garnered international attention when the startup company, Svaice, announced its intent to extract glacier ice cubes for cocktail coolers at high-end bars and restaurants. A rhetorical analysis of newspaper coverage relevant to each case reveals that in both debates, instrumental, relational, and intrinsic values are attributed to the respective glaciers, and that government, business, and community actors hold the most power in these conversations. However, nuances within articulations of instrumental value suggest that Norwegian actors strive to balance human and glacier needs, whereas Alaskan actors largely prioritize human needs by constituting the glacier as a utilitarian object.

Please contact Catherine Bruns for a copy of this publication.

Suggested Citation

Bruns, C. J., & Andersen, I. V. (2023). The worth of nature: Valuations of glaciers in Alaskan and Norwegian media discourse. Environmental Communication, 1–16.