The Perfect World Foundation brought a nice mix of “ordinary” people together on an Expedition to Svalbard to learn more about the ongoing situation in the arctic region. The people who joined the expedition was property owners, restaurant people, nutritionists, shopkeepers, franchisees, adventurers, conservationists, filmmakers, photographers, entrepreneurs, business people etc. The idea was to see how this blend of people was supposed to react after meeting this absolutely stunning and beautiful environment, including its habitats, Polar Bears, Walruses, Seals etc., and after that to meet with scientists who informed about the crisis and the ongoing change on our planet.

Furthermore, the purpose with the Expedition was to document the effects and conclusions from scientists at site, regarding the fact that this winter, it was more than 20 degrees warmer than normal during periods. We also wanted to try to spread this knowledge to raise awareness among ordinary people which not yet have this information.

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After 4 days on board the small explorer ship M/S Malmö, the Expedition was not able to see one single Seal or Polar Bear. “The Polar Bear can sometimes be difficult to find, but normally we spot huge amounts of Seals, and that worries me” – says Ola Skinnarmo. Ola has walked  to the North Pole 10 times and has been on the South Pole, and is of course extremely experienced and well oriented in this habitat. The seals are very important food for the polar bears, and the decrease of the fjord ice, due to global warming, is believed to be the main reason for this dramatic change in the Seal population.

 

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The expedition continued north with the ambition to get around on the north-east side of Svalbard, an area that was completely navigable during the past winter because of the heat. But now we were faced by the fractured pole ice that was moving south. An approaching storm made us turn around aswe did not dare to navigate into the ice with the risk of being crushed. However, we took time for a swim in the ice-cold water before we had to turn the ship around. 

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Once out of the bath, the journey went on to “Ny Aalesund” and the polar research station where they are trying to find out the Global Change effect on the smallest of the animals, the “Copepods” or the Arctic Krill. This little crayfish is in the bottom of the food chain and is thereby extremely important for the wildlife in this region. After a long educating discussion, we left Ny Aalesund and the polar research station with the last words from the researchers echoing in our heads; “We are extremely worried about the future, if we are to experience the Arctic or the barrier reefs with our children, we must do it now, within a few years”

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Finally, even though on a long distance, we spotted our first polar bears. It was a mom with here two cubs, and with a 600 mm photo lens and some extra zooming, at last we got a photo that got the whole ship to a party. After all, finding a Polar Bear on Svalbard is what you dream about.

 

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And after that more Wildlife was coming up

 

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The Expedition ended In Longyearbyen, and the members had the chance to spend more time with a Glacier Scientist. She explained that there are a number of parameters happening now at the same time, cyclic changes in climate, the sun is increasing in temperature during the next 11 years, 8 billion people increases the CO2 levels, soot from fossil fuels increases the dark areas in the glacier that absorbes more heat, methan gas (greenhouse gas) is realised from the permafrost…etc. All these parameters could potentially turn out as “The Perfect Storm”, which can create huge changes during the next few years to come.

But she also said that “there is hope”, and with hope she was referring to all of us, “ordinary” people who can change away from fossil fuels, pushing and using new environmental friendly technologies, change the way we are consuming meat, as more than 50% of CO2 emissions comes from the meat industry… but we need to act fast.

The awareness in the expedition group has increased dramatically, and we would like to say that there was 12 new Environmentalists born on Svalbard. “Ordinary” people who went home to find out what they could change in their private lives as well as their professional.

The Perfect World Foundation plans more awareness campaigns, such as participating at the Ocean Conference in New York in June, and a number of events coming up during the summer, The Ocean Ball in Gothenburg in September etc. Please contact us if you want to participate or support The Perfect World Foundation

 

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