Posted by: carlsafina | Monday, July 21 08

As Goes the Arctic…

Ahoy,

On July 11, 2008, about 100 participants arrived in Svalbard in the high Norwegian arctic and boarded the Lindblad Expeditions ship National Geographic Endeavor for a Climate Action Summit.  We came to take ourselves out of the daily rhythm of our lives and work, to experience the spare and elemental place near the top of the world, to listen to the music of vast silences, and to feel the heave and subsidence of the sea.  We watched seabirds, wild reindeer, walrus, and polar bears living and moving to a different rhythm.  A rhythm not of our making–until recently.

Walruses in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

Walruses in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

We came to see and discuss the arctic’s climate, and what we might do.

Climate Action Summit in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

Climate Action Summit in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

Here in these sparseley peopled arctic spaces we learned two things:  that the reach of humanity extends far beyond the humanity’s normal haunts, and that as goes the arctic, so goes the world.

Ice World Mirage (Photo by Carl Safina)

Ice World Mirage (Photo by Carl Safina)

The climate that kept the arctic stable over ten millennia produced the same stability that has made civilization possible.  Among thinning glaciers and melting seas, we came to appreciate first-hand that Earth has a fever.  We came to a closer and more urgent understanding that global warming and disruption of the world’s carbon balance are serious threats.  They are serious threats to civilization; to wildlife, forests, and the ocean; to freshwater; to agriculture; to justice; to the poor; to those who will yet be born–and to peace.  Without great moral and political leadership, we face perhaps the greatest challenge civilization has ever faced.  But we also face the greatest opportunities:  to improve security, improve and diversify energy sources, and improve the path of the human endeavor, and the prospects for prosperity and peace.

C.S., Spitzbergen 7-19-08

For the full “Spirit of Endeavor” statement released on behalf of the group, please see: http://www.expeditions.com/climateaction

 

Black-legged Kittiwake (Photo by Carl Safina)

Black-legged Kittiwake (Photo by Carl Safina)

Polar Bears in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

Polar Bears in the Arctic (Photo by Carl Safina)

Ivory Gulls (Photo by Carl Safina)

Ivory Gulls (Photo by Carl Safina)

 
Blue Ice (Photo by Carl Safina)

Blue Ice (Photo by Carl Safina)

 
About these ads

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: