Cool Kids: Environmental Artists Put 193 Baby Cribs on Himalayan Ice

Vanilla Ice may have had an unlikely hit with “Ice Ice Baby” but an innovative environmental project in China's chilly southwest really has Mount Everest singin' the blues.

Produced by Li Lei along with Green River, the project's purpose was to bring the steady retreat of western China's glaciers to the world's attention. Setting up the 193 baby cribs (one for each of the world's nations) at the foot of forbidding Mt. Geladandong was one thing (watch a stunning video of that here); just getting there was an adventure in itself.

In late 2010, Li Lei's team of artists and photographers guided by hardy Tibetan sherpas traveled by truck deep into China's province of Qinghai, which borders Tibet. When the roads gave out, they strapped the knocked-down baby cribs onto a fleet of shaggy yaks and pressed ever onward – and upward.

The location they finally reached was an ice sheet at the base of a glacial ice tongue at the foot of Mt. Geladandong.

They had to go a bit further than previous expeditions as the glacier, like many in the Himalayan region, has been retreating year by year. The baby cribs were unpacked and set up in several configurations both on and off the ice... and no babies were used in the production of the project.  

The loss of a little ice in a location where very few people live might not seem much of a deal but consider the fact that some of Asia's greatest rivers (Yangtze, Salween and Mekong to name just three) begin their long journeys to the sea as tiny streams of glacial meltwater.

Approximately 2 billion people living downstream depend on these rivers for their supplies of drinking water and to irrigate their farms. You've heard of the Butterfly Effect... can you imagine living it? (via China Green and Wangjun Performance Art)