Our days are full of light and sun. Darkness has left this corner of the Arctic and left us with a lovely lingering dusk through our sleeping hours. We rise at 5:30 a.m. with sun-filled tents and light our stoves with relative ease. We break a light sweat packing our sleds and harnessing dogs. By noon the sun is as high as it will be in its low arc across the sky and we are down to one long underwear layer on top. We have swapped our winter hats for ball caps and visors, and reapply sunscreen again and again to our sunburned faces.
In an effort to adapt to the warmer weather, we stop for longer breaks at midday and travel longer in the morning and late afternoon. Today’s break came close to 2 p.m.. We gathered around Lukie’s sleds to look at the maps to calibrate our distance. Gathering together as a group like this somewhat rare, but that much more important with our guest expedition members on board. There are lots of questions to be asked, thoughts to be shared and opinions to be aired. Today’s discussion turned to global warming and public perceptions of the issue.
“What do you tell people who feel overwhelmed by the issue of climate?”, someone asked. Theo was the first to respond. “Take a look at the people of Clyde River”, he suggested. “Here they are, way up in the Arctic, far away from everybody, but they know about climate change and they’re doing something about it.” Theo is right. Many people in Clyde River use energy-saving bulbs, buy recycled products and support local investment in alternative energy sources. They are doing their small part as individuals to contribute to a bigger movement towards change.
Elizabeth spoke up about the need for hope. “Currently we lack any comprehensive vision of global warming solutions. Solutions exist but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when all we hear in the media is gloom and doom”. She pointed to the expedition as a way to encourage hope and action, but also called for stronger leadership from government and big business.
Richard Branson threw in his two cents, encouraging us all to hold our governments accountable for mandating policies to slow global warming. “Governments can do this,” he said, “and they should”. Richard is an excellent example of big business effecting positive social change. His company, Virgin-Atlantic, is pioneering new ground with their own environmental policies, leading the way in the airline industry and industries around the world.
As we mush a little closer to our final destination everyday, our thoughts turn more often to the meaning of the expedition. What will our legacy be? Where will we go from here? To Washingon D.C. for starters! But until then..it’s Iglulik or bust.
A bright goodnight,