350 Action Spotlight: Disko Bay, Greenland

Photo: 350s on the beach of Qeqertartsuaq. By David Noble.

Last week we wrote about the expedition of artists, activists and scientists heading to Greenland’s Disko Bay to observe, discuss, and draw inspiration from a changing Arctic environment. Yesterday, the Cape Farewell passengers staged their own 350 action on the shores of of Qeqertartsuaq, spelling out the number with pieces of ice they gathered on the beach. The words below are from David Noble of Canadian company 2DegreesC who helped pull together the action, and are cross-posted from the Cape Farewell Blog.

We just passed the 48-hour mark of our 10-day journey aboard the Grigory Mikheev. We’ve traveled north from Kangerlussuaq to Disko Bay, and en route, heard from the two groups of scientists on board – one of which is mapping the West Greenland current and the other, characterizing sedimentation in the ocean bed in order to reconstruct historical sea levels.

Karen and Ludwig, our two onboard Greenlandic Inuit guides, talked with us today on Greenlandic culture. Funny story on that. The Lutherans converted a bunch of Greenlanders to their faith. They left behind the Lord’s Prayer. It includes the line “Give us this day, our daily bread”. The Greenlanders didn’t know what bread was (it wasn’t a part of their diet), and so they changed the line to something meaningful – “give us this day, our daily meat”. “Lamb of God” was changed too, to “Seal of God”. That gave us all a chuckle.

Beyond that, there’s been lots of engaging discussion with the many cool cats on board. My roomie the photographer has taken and produced some absolutely smash photos; we managed a couple of 350s on the beach of Qeqertartsuaq, where we went ashore today; and I see that many of our crew have been blogging.

On that note, I must admit that I quite like this blogging thing – so far as I can say that this early in my blogging history. It seems an awful lot Doogie Howser-ish though. When were Doogie’s days? Were they 20 years ago yet? Doogie was clearly way ahead of his time.

Tomorrow we hit shore at the at the Ilulissat ice fiord, near the mighty metro of Ilulissat (population ~4500 and the “gateway to northern Greenland”. This is the area where religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith traditions met last year to pray for the planet. Karen says that helped – Greenland had a cold winter last year. Last winter’s cold hasn’t much helped the glacier. The ice fiord extends 56 km to the face of the Ilulissat glacier. Ten years ago it was only 40 km to the face. It has retreated 16 km in just 10 years. Now it’s moving at a whopping rate of 38 metres per day.

People here have been talking for a long time about the changing weather. The New York Times ran a story called “How to speak climate” last month, based on what’s happening here in Greenland. How to speak climate includes using phrases like “I’ve never seen that before.”, and “Well, usually, but I don’t know any more.”.

It also includes “I had never seen rain in December before last year”.

 

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