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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

First Steps in the Arctic

First steps in the Arctic
written by Greta

Hello from Svalbard, Spitsbergen.
Now it is already our second day up here in the arctic. “We”, that is Johannes (18) from Bavaria and Greta (19) from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. We are the two so called “Ambassadors of Change” chosen out of lots of applicants from Germany.

On Monday we set off for our “Voyage for the future” – a trip together with 16 other young people from all over the world (Great Britain, Russia, United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Japan and the Netherlands). We all came here to find solutions and ways of combating global warming. As we are all young adults between 18 and 21 years we all are very concerned about our future and what the head of states are planning at the moment.

If we make a difference maybe our governments will start to make a difference, too. That is what we want to show the world out there. Making a difference is not that difficult! During our journey we will talk to a lot of scientists and other people who are very involved in climate change and in the arctic so that we will have a good basic knowledge about the arctic and climate change.

So probably you might already be very curious about what we have been doing until now. On Monday we went from Frankfurt to Oslo where we spent our first night and met all the other highly motivated Ambassadors of change. The next day, on Tuesday we finally arrived in the arctic. Even the view out of the airplane window was already stunning.

After we checked in at Mary Ann´s Polarrigg we went to the University of Longyearbyen.
Longyearbyen is one of the very few settlements of Svalbard – a town with almost 2000 inhabitants coming from 40 different nations. There we listened to a lecture by Olav Eira, a reindeer herder from the indigenous Saami people. (Reindeer photo in previous entry, scroll down the page). He told us a lot about how climate change impacts his everyday life. It was so interesting to see how he and the other Saami live and at the same time it was sad to experience that exactly those people who contribute such a little to global warming suffer more from its impacts than we do.

In the evening all of us kept working on our blogs and most of us totally forgot to go to bed. That is because there is no night. Or let’s say there is no darkness since the sun never sets.
So people got a bit confused and all of us were really tired today in the morning. Of course this did not stop us from having our next adventure.

A local guide showed us a bit of Longyearbyen and its landscape which is just sooo beautiful.
Of course we used that opportunity to take a lot of pictures. As for example in front of the “Be aware of polar bear”-sign. The guide had to carry a gun because there is always a slight risk that a polar bear could find its way to Longyearbyen and then you would be facing a tough problem.

In a few minutes we are heading off for the ship. That is going to be the main part of our journey and it is definitely going to be very exciting. And you guys should just keep on following our cool and interesting blog where we will tell you about all our adventures.


June 11, 2008 | 3:54 pm