If you listened to NPR or BBC news on August 12, 2022, or any other major news source, you likely heard the disheartening evidence that the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. That's scary data for people like me who love the Arctic. Previous thinking was that it was warming twice as fast, but new research presented yesterday in the journal Nature outlines the research and reinforces the critical role that sea ice plays in the health of the planet.
Of course we've been talking about the importance of sea ice for a long time. We see and feel the effects of climate change on all our expeditions, but especially in the Arctic and near the North Pole, which is ground zero for climate change. It's why we are so passionate about telling our stories and helping people discover their own (see Why Our Stories Matter). We want everyone, including people who may never go to the Arctic, to understand its critical role in our lives. We want people around the world to understand the connection that exists between each of us and the Arctic; and how the choices we make every day affect the health of the Arctic. Most importantly, we want people to feel empowered to make the changes that are immediately necessary to keep the Arctic cool.
And here's the good news. YOU can make a difference. Yes, you. You can decide, today, to consider the health of the Arctic when making all your decisions; from which products to buy to how you will vote. You can decide, today, that you will work to reduce your carbon footprint. You can decide, today, to share your concern about the warming planet with other people - and not in hushed tones, but with conviction and compassion. And importantly, you can decide, today, that you will reconnect with the outdoors. Because even though the Arctic may be thousands of miles away, your favorite park, or garden or forest is likely nearby, and like the Arctic, it too deserves your admiration and attention. The relationship of course is symbiotic. As the preservationist John Muir wisely said, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
You may feel insignificant compared to the mighty Arctic but you have one thing it doesn't. You have a voice, and now's a good time to use it. Because we all have a role to play in the future of our planet. What will your role be?