Villagers in the Himalayas inscribe their water wheels with prayers in the belief that their entreaties will be carried downstream through their pastures to the ocean.
The villagers of Fiesch in Switzerland worship a different God, but their prayers are no less fervent. Several centuries ago they became so alarmed at the threat to their crops through the expansion of the Aletsch glacier that the Catholic Church devised special prayers to save them from disaster. In the 1860’s, after two hundred years of prayer and an annual pilgrimage to the glacier, their prayers seemed to be having some effect when the glacier began to retreat. They should have quit while they were ahead, but made the fatal mistake of carrying on praying and the situation has become so serious now that their parish council and the local bishop have petitioned the Pope to change the prayer to make the glacier grow large again.
Meanwhile, in the Himalayas, they have the opposite problem. For reasons which no-one understands the glaciers there are growing. Perhaps now that the villagers of Fiesch have no further use for their old prayers, they could send someone to the Himalayas to carve one on a waterwheel.
My thanks to Paul Simons, author of Weatherwatch, for the information about the villages of Fiesch.