ECO-TRAIL A trip to the North Pole turned out to be life-changing. SHRUTI K.N.
It started with an essay on climate change. A perfect opportunity came knocking with ‘Expedition to the Arctic’, a competition held by the British Council, Canada supported by Capefarewell. One could never have considered bringing together two completely different subjects to fight a global crisis: science and art. We were 28 students from all over the world divided into four groups: climatology, bio-geograpghy, geomorphology and oceanography.
The scientific side
While the climatology group measured wind speed, air temperature, sea level pressure, luminosity, ship speed, relative humidity, latitude, longitude; the oceanographers studied plankton nets; the geomorphology lot studied the land every time we landed and the bio-geographers studied the plants and the landscape during the landings. I was part of the climatology group. We all looked forward to our daily art sessions, which went with the group we belonged to. Every day, the four groups would share their measurements, their results of the plankton nets, their experience on land, and our views on the landscapes followed by our paintings. It was interesting to see how the sky patterns changed every day, the ocean depth and colour, the landscapes with different perspectives and little things on the land that one wouldn’t have noticed. From this we concluded that every person had a different perspective towards the same object.
At the conservation centre in St. George’s Lake, Toronto, staying at a dorm with 27 others students was amazing. We were given a brief introduction on the subject and told about our duties on the ship. After a visit to the Ontario Science Centre for a media launch, a group activity by the tree house at MARS, we left for Iceland the next day.We arrived in Reykjavik one cold morning, all excited despite the tiring journey. We had forest walks, a visit to the soil conservation centre where we helped pick seeds and later scatter it in a barren land to help germination and entry of bird life. Later, we visited the volcano Mt. Hekla. Finally, it was time to board the AKADEMIK SHOKALASKY. We made at least one landing a day. The ship would anchor a few kilometres away and we would ride to the land. Often we were the only humans, except in two places.We saw the melting of glaciers, less snow, no wildlife, lack of vegetation. We knew there was a lot more than what we saw a few years ago, and we also knew there would be no more in a few years if we don’t act fast.
Dealing with consequences
We met the people in Nunavut, who are dealing with the consequences of climate change. It made us all think: the increasing greenhouse gases affects one part of the world so badly. We all have only ONE earth we cannot let one part suffer while we leave our computers switched on. Take a moment to reflect on the consequences. How come things as simple as turning off the lights or computers are so hard? Have we become so dependant on technology that we can’t walk to the nearest place? There are a few things we need to keep in mind. Firstly, we must know unity is strength. We all fight and we all achieve. Secondly, one of the most essential things would be to make the people listen. Finally, I would consider my expedition successful only if I talk to people, put my message across and see the changes. “The land retains an identity of its own, still deeper and more subtle than we can know. Our obligation towards it then becomes simple: to approach with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of regard.” Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams.
- September 9: Starting from Angamassalik, Greenland
- September 10: Kap Mosting,Greenland
- September 11: Prins Christan Sound, Greenland
- September 12: Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland
- September 13: Paamuit,Isblink, Greenland
- September 14: Nuuk, the capital of Greenland
- September 16: Broughton Island, Kekertuk, Nunavut
- September 17: Cape Dyer, Baffin Island
- September 18: Hoar Bay, Baffin Island
- September 19: Butterfly Bay and Monumental Island ,Baffin island
- September 20: Landed in Iqaluit completing the expedition.
Shruti, a student of std. XII, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School, Adyar, is one of the Climate Change Champions from India.
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