By Zoë Caron
The 10-year-old country girl in me has wondered for the past year, “Why in the world do I live in Toronto?” The city is vibrant, deep, wondrous – yet it is still a city. And no matter how hard I try to fully embrace that home, my veins still race with dreams of greenery and fresh breezes and a pure sense of stillness. As we sat on shore amidst mist-grazed grass and crumbled rocky slopes hugging our perimeter, overlooking Douglas Bay, that feeling was once-again revived.
Amidst the caribou-beaten paths and blasts of ocean spray beneath the bow, the focus revolves around learning. And although we haven’t yet dissected the issue of climate change, the words come up at least once every hour. The combined understanding of climate change aboard this ship is impeccable. By last night, just a handful of days into the expedition, students were asking questions like, “Why are countries drilling for oil in the Arctic when it’s oil use that is causing climate change?” and “Would it not be strategic for the Arctic Council to advocate strongest for climate change at the United Nations climate change negotiations?”
These are exactly the kinds of questions we are asking at WWF. Our Arctic team is diligently calling for an offshore drilling halt until sufficient regulations are in place. Our climate change team is trying to ensure countries keep recent promises to phase out subsidies to oil, gas and coal production in order to shift our world into renewable energy use. All of this is in light of the understanding that energy use is at the crux of dealing with climate change, and by doing that, we avoid the risk of losing significant amounts of biodiversity.
As we dig into these issues over the coming week, we’ll uncover the passionate minds that are asking these hard questions and actively apply ourselves to being not just part of, but at the centre of, the solutions.
Students on Ice’s 2010 Arctic Youth Expedition is a ship-based circumpolar adventure aimed at raising awareness about global warming – and inspiring the next generation of polar scientists, researchers and environmentalists. The participants include students from all three Canadian territories (a quarter of the total), eight Canadian provinces and four other countries.
The ship will take the students to several arctic sites including Pagnirtung, Diana Island, Digges and Walrus Islands, Cape Dorset and North shore Hudson Strait. It also drops anchor at one of Canada’s most spectacular parks, Auyuittuq National Park, and the breathtaking Kingnait Fjord.