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Catching up with the Comments

I’ve just finished putting together a little audio-collage about climate-saving projects being run by young people. It makes me optimistic.
Listen to the young climate activisits
Now I still have two “blog jobs” on my conscience for today.
Beth Lunsford from the USA says she likes the blog,and that the whole world has to work together on climate change. Thanks for that Beth, I think you’re absolutely right.Beth’s comment was prompted by the pictures of the “polar bears” at the Brandenburg gate in Berlin. But she’s sceptical about the aims of Barack Obama’s world travels and thinks they were only just for photo opportunities. It’s good to hear what people in the USA think about all this. I really enjoyed being in the USA for 4 weeks this summer.
(This has got to be one of favourite radio station buildings, discovered while travelling on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State. If anybody from the station reads this, please drop me a mail, I’d have loved to meet you and have a look round!)

Apart from seeing some beautiful landscapes, as a British-born European based in Germany, it was great to get a feel for the US lifestyle and follow some of the election campaigning. A lot of us here in Europe feel that there could be a positive development in the climate policy of the USA after the election. But I share the view of those experts who think our expectations might be so high, we’re bound to be disappointed. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has an opinion on this issue.
And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to thank Andreas Eister, who actually took the pictures at the Brandenburg Gate for WWF. And let me tell you here, Andreas, that the close-up of the “bear” is one of my all-time favourites.
Marie Laure, who runs a project called “Cool Mountain”, aimed at getting people to use less water and power in ski resorts, has asked whether she can post something on the blog. Sure Marie Laure, I’d be delighted to pass on some info about your project. I’d put up a web link, but I haven’t actually found this particular project on the internet. Look forward to hearing from you!


August 13, 2008 | 2:39 pm



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Polar Bears at the Brandenburg Gate

How do you like this version of a classic American poster? (And Obama’s campaign slogan).

Barack Obama mentioned the need for global action on climate change during his speech in Berlin last night. During the day, tourists and other visitors to the famous Brandenburg Gate met some unexpected characters – WWF campaigners dressed up as polar bears.

(Photos taken by Andreas Eister for WWF).
In a recent study conduced by WWF, the USA takes last place amongst the G8 countries in a climate policy ranking list.
There are high hopes that things will change after the election in November.
I’m putting a link here to the WWF Germany article on this. Unfortunately, it’s only available in German. Dear WWF, things like this are of wider interest, and Obama’s trip is making headlines around the world. Wouldn’t it be worth having your account and photos of a campaign like this available in English?
WWF Germany sends “polar bears” to welcome Obama


July 25, 2008 | 9:20 am




Inspired to Save the Planet

Today is the end of the cruise…

but definitely not the end of our voyage!

Sad, but full of motivation and inspiration, we left the ship today in the morning.
The last week was a lifetime experience for all of us and now we are all just about to start establishing our global movement against climate change!

We are still in Longyearbyen today, and tomorrow we are all heading back to Oslo.

This morning we had a very interesting lecture by Jack Kohler. He is something like a god amongst the glaciologists. He told us that all glaciers are melting all over Svalbard, at an increasing rate. We are not only seeing these trends here, but also in the rest of the world. And learning about this has been our challenge – our role is to be communicators about the impacts of climate change, whether this is melting glaciers, the extinction of the King of the North Pole (the polar bear), or how the effects here represent the potential global catastrophe if we do not take the initiative and act now.

Although our time here together is coming to the end, this is by no means the last you will here from us. ‘Us’ being not only the 18 voyage participants, but the other hundreds of thousands of concerned people who are ready for a global shift. Like never before are we going to talk and work on this issue, in order to protect, you, me, the planet and the many other people who unfortunately have no voice in this matter. Personally I cannot wait for the next chapter of this movement, and I’d love for you all to join me. You can keep updated with what we are up to by continuing to reading our blogs. Even better, I’d love to be reading about what you too are up to. Inspire me to inspire others.

And thanks to Timm Christmann from WWF for taking the pictures!!


June 19, 2008 | 1:35 pm



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Arctic Update from Johannes

Johannes, 16.06.2008

Before answering the questions readers of our blogs raised, I want to give you a quick summary of today.

Our 6th day started as usual, with a lecture, this time Solitair Townsend, a communication-trainer from London, told us how to talk to leaders in politics and business. I think that was quite important, because we all want leaders using their power for combating global warming.
In the afternoon we landed at Snatcherpynten, Recherchefjord and walked up to a moraine of the Renard Glacier. We climbed the glacier and had a magnificent view of this nature.

In the evening the crew of the ship prepared a surprise: we had a barbeque (!) in front of a great landscape with glaciers and high snow covered mountains. While eating we just had nice conversations and enjoyed the sunshine.

But now I want to answer your questions:
“Gerry B” asks which “submarine” we used and if it is something special about the Arctic.
I think you have seen the photos of our first Onboard-Day. On this day (Wednesday) we had a safety and lifeboat drill. So we had to embark in the narrow lifeboats, which probably on the photos look like submarines.

Gerry B also wanted to know whether we had special fitness training and tests.
Although some trips are a bit exhausting, we did not partake in fitness trainings or test. When we applied for the voyage there was only the note that every participant has to be healthy and fit enough to go to the Arctic.

Ann likes to see photos of the seal and the reindeer(s).
Unfortunately we currently do not have the communication possibilities to load up extra pictures. But as soon as we are back in “internet territory” we will make sure to show you more pictures. Until then check out
Pictures on German blog
– our German blog for more photos.

“Tom” wants to know why the Sami are suffering from global warming and why they aren’t happy about things warming up.
As I/ we already mentioned in the blog the Sami have several problems probably caused by global warming. Let me give you an example which was given to us by the Sami Olav Mathis Eira, reindeer-herder from North Norway. In the 1990s several times it rained during winter. The last time that happened was in 1918! This caused several problems. As the rain froze on top of the snow cover forming a thick hard layer, the reindeer where unable to dig through the snow and to find food. Furthermore reindeers had trouble to walk on the frozen rain. According to Olav Mathis Eira this probably led to a severe decrease in reindeer during the 1990s. Nearly everybody sees global warming as the cause for these incidents, which occurred several times in the last 20 years.
Another example is that oil-companies began to exploit the nature because global warming makes it easier and, of course, cheaper to use the natural resources in Norwegian and Swedish arctic regions. This industrial development destroys valuable nature and at the life of the Sami people because they depend on the intact nature here in the Arctic.

And a PS from Irene, your Ice-Blogger in the background:
The Inupiat in Arctic Alaska are another indigenous group affected by climate change, as you may have read on this blog.
If you listen in to this week’s edition of Living Planet, you can hear a feature about my visit to the Inupiat with a field trip from the Ben and Jerry’s Climate Change College.
Here’s the link
Radio Feature on the Inupiat of Arctic Alaska and Climate Change
Cara,Erika, Jakob, Aart – you’re all in that feature, you were great, and I hope you’ll be listining in!!!
Marc and Michel from the Climate Change College (currently up there in the Arctic!) – you’ll be proud of them!!


June 17, 2008 | 10:03 am



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The Polar Bear and the Prime Minister

Greta, 14.06.2008

Still we are here in the Arctic, the place which occupies one sixth of the Earth’s surface.
And so many things have happened since the last time we blogged.
Actually the things that you would most expect to experience in the Arctic happened to happen to us.
We saw him, the big white fluffy one – as our guide always uses to say. The polar bear. It was an unbelievable experience which we will probably never ever forget until the rest of our lives. Another unbelievable fact that the head of the WWF Arctic program had told us in the morning in his lecture is that if we don’t take action on climate change now and all the ice will melt the polar bear is not going to be able to live in the arctic regions anymore. Until 2040 two thirds of the polar bear population will have vanished. We should not let this happen.
In the afternoon we still had a lot of other great “arctic-experiences” like seeing a walrus and having a zodiac trip in between a lot of sea ice and glaciers. Incredible how beautiful this is.
Today we were taught how to talk to climate change critics.

Some people might try to tell you that: “Global warming is natural. There have already been a lot of other times in the Earth’s history where the same thing happened just as now.”
Here is what you might answer him: ”You are absolutely right that there have been changes in global temperature over time! But what is happening with our planet at this moment is definitely not natural. The speed of increase in greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented and we know that these are man-made. If we burned all he fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal it would take the Earth’s natural system 100,000 years to store the carbon we have blown into the atmosphere.”
At the end of our trip we were planning on meeting the Norwegian prime minister. Unfortunately he told us that he will not have time to meeting us the day we will be back in Oslo. So we were thinking about ways how we can try to convince him to give us some of his time.

Dear Jens Stoltenberg,

We are the students of WWF’s Voyage for the Future, a 10-day boat voyage in Svalbard, Norway. We represent nine countries with vested interests in the Arctic. We have come together because we are concerned about the many issues regarding the Arctic region, including climate change. On our trip, we have come face to face with these problems and discussed many potential solutions that we would like to share with you.

You take a break for summer. Climate change does not. This summer, Arctic sea ice levels are predicted to be the lowest in history by far. Youth in every corner of the world consider climate change to be the defining issue of our time. Thank you so much for your help so far in tackling the climate crisis, particularly your pledge of 15 billion NOK to end deforestation. We propose a meeting with you to discuss your continued role in a sustainable future on Friday, June 20th, before we return home to our respective countries. Would you prefer a meeting for breakfast or lunch? Thank you for your time.

The WWF Voyage for the Future:

Maria Waag – Norway
Karl Oskar Teien – Norway
Evanne Nowak – Holland
Michiel Jansen – Holland
Greta Hamann – Germany
Johannes Barthelmess – Germany
Emma Bierman – United Kingdom
Casper ter Kuile – United Kingdom
Jeremy Brammer – Canada
Jayme Collins – Canada
Sven Heijbel – Sweden
Nanny-Maja Anderback –Sweden
Ekatarina Levitskaya – Russia
Dmitry Vladimirov – Russia
Yuriko Murakami – Japan
Shunta Takagi – Japan
Ben Wessel – United States
John Monaghan – United States

If you want to see our open invitation to the prime minister (which is pretty cool though) check out this video. We want to reach as many people as possible. So be part of our climate change movement!



June 17, 2008 | 9:34 am



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