Some of you may have seen this video extracted from Chasing Ice; the largest glacial carving event ever captured on film.
And some of you may also have seen these recent articles:
Greenland is melting: we need to worry about what’s happening on the largest island in the world
The Conversation, 18 November 2020
An iceberg the size of Delaware is on a collision course with South Georgia Island
Washington Post, 20 November 2020
Wilkins was an enthusiastic and inquisitive observer of our planet, and particularly our polar regions; what would he make of the extraordinary changes that are apparent to us, in these regions today?
It’s a fascinating and perhaps a foreboding time to be a polar scientist; everywhere that we look, changes are occurring at an accelerated rate.
I’m in the throes of planning an Arctic scientific expedition as we speak; and like Wilkins, I’m aware that traditional funding sources are not the only solution; I wrote on this recently for ECO Magazine: Polar Science is expensive, but does it have to be?
But, aside from my funding concerns, it is the means of travel that is most ‘up in the air’. Wilkins utilised both above and below air/water vehicles for his expeditions, but I’m yet to seek, or procure, an ex-military submarine for my work (you must all have read Under the North Pole or watched Frozen North); I need simply to decide between an overland solution (a sledge), or an over-water solution (a kayak, pack-raft, or sailboat (??)), because the rate of ice-loss, both sea, and glacial, means that ‘overland’ travel to the North Pole may not be guaranteed, for so much longer…
As we commemorate Wilkins’ passing, perhaps it’s an appropriate time for all of us, to pause, reflect, and consider, our own relationship with our natural world, and the things that we might endeavour to do, to ensure its longevity, for those who’ll take its stewardship, into their care.